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Learn By Doing Photography

How to take a picture of the moon – Learn by Doing

Assignment # 39 Photographing the moon

Canon 60D55-250mm canon lens / ISO 400 Focal length 250mm f/8.0 1/250 sec
The moon has a magical quality about it! How many times have you watched the moonrise in your life. Watched it as it just peeked over the mountain side. When we do, it’s usually a lucky coincidence that we were driving at that exact time or just happen to look up to see it. And when you do see it you have to stop and enjoy, even if it’s for just a brief moment. This week don’t let luck find your moon pick up your camera and go take a picture.

As for me I found the moon by luck of course, we had a friend stop by last Thursday night and say “did you see the moon tonight?” No…. I am so glad he told us to go outside and look! Almost full moon just coming over the mountain. (The full moon will be the following night on Friday) It had a orange/red color about it. This color was produced from all the smoke in the valley. The month of August seems to always bring our valley smoke from near by Forrest fires, this year is no different. I should have grabbed my camera at that very moment, but I was in the process of getting kids tucked in for bed so I waited. Later that night I brought out the camera and tripod. The moon had since lost it’s colorful glow, but it was still beautiful!

Techniques I used:

At first I tried the sunny 16 rule. Since the moon is reflecting the light from the sun this technique should work. The Sunny 16 rule states that you start with your F/stop of F/16. To get the correct exposure you can start with your ISO at 100 and use the opposite number for your shutter speed which would be 1/100th. If you move your ISO to 400 you also need to change your shutter speed to 1/400th. ISO is your camera’s sensitivity to light so the higher that number the more sensitive your camera will be to light so you need to increase your shutter speed to compensate.

The sunny 16 rule works, there are lots of examples of it on the internet. But tonight for whatever reasons I felt I needed more light so I opened up my aperture to F/8 on manual, ISO on 400 and the shutter to 1/250th. Perfect! The only reason I was at ISO 400 was because I forgot to change it from the sunny 16 test. If I had noticed I would have set the ISO to 100 and adjusted the shutter speed accordingly.

What you need:

  • Tripod
  • A camera with a zoom

Here is a video I found with a slightly different technique.

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Learn By Doing - I said Freeze!
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Backlighting your subject - LBD Photography

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