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Full Moon - Mortals Beware

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This evening, by 5:00pm, it was as dark as it's going to be. And the moon was visible obscured by a large silver birch tree which has shed virtually all of its leaves. Not all, as can be seen.
Now I am no astronomical photographer (I would hesitate to even call myself a good photographer GrinGrin) but this is the type of shot I have never attempted before.
Hand held - ISO2K & 1/200th shutter - spot metered.
I'm not suggesting that this is a correct procedure, or appropriate settings, merely this is what I used.
For V2 & V3 I used matrix metering
For V4, again on spot metering, I focused the moon rather than the branches. A bit of a breeze in the air, so it was not as easy as I thought it would be.
Val arrive home about an hour later, and informed me that she had heard on the local radio that the star next to the Moon is Pluto: so:-
V5 & V6 are shots of the Pluto and its relative position to the moon this evening, though obviously millions of miles away.

Camera:Nikon D300 Check out Nikon Nation!
Lens:70.0-300.0 mm f/4.0-5.6
Recording media:RAW (digital)
Date Taken:28 Nov 2012 - 7:14 PM
Focal Length:300mm
Lens Max Aperture:f/5.7
Shutter Speed:1/200sec
Exposure Comp:0.0
Exposure Mode:Shutter speed priority AE
Metering Mode:Spot
Flash:No Flash
White Balance:As Shot
Title:Full Moon - Mortals Beware
Username:strokebloke strokebloke
Uploaded:28 Nov 2012 - 8:25 PM
Tags:Experimentation/learning, General, Lunar, Planetary association
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This photo is here for critique. Please only comment constructively and with suggestions on how to improve it.
MossyOak  2 England15 Constructive Critique Points
28 Nov 2012 - 8:38 PM

The planet next to the moon is in fact Jupiter.
I have just togged the moon. Try ISO 100 F11 at 1/320th sec spot metering


MossyOak  2 England15 Constructive Critique Points
28 Nov 2012 - 8:50 PM

Pluto is out to the West at the moment and at about -10 Azimuth so only visible in the Southern Hemisphere. Give the settings a go and try different shutter speeds, you will be amazed how easy it is to get it you do not need a big lens a 300 is ample.
Look forward to seeing the results. Dont forget to turn all the lights of around you so no ambient light affects it

MossyOak  2 England15 Constructive Critique Points
28 Nov 2012 - 9:01 PM

Hope this helps Jack Jupiter

MossyOak  2 England15 Constructive Critique Points
28 Nov 2012 - 9:03 PM

Sorry link didn't work, look at my V3 I uploaded for you

28 Nov 2012 - 10:10 PM

Thank you Richard. I'm going to blame Val. She told me it was Pluto GrinGrinGrin
I've uploaded a closer shot ~ V7. It has nothing like the clarity that yours has. But it is a definite improvement.
I did take it on the tripod though. 320th spot at what I assumed may have been ISO 100
I have a D300 and it's conventional lowest ISO is 200 ~ below that are L03/L07 & L1.0 but I have no certainty as to what these equate to.
I've assumed possibly L03 = 150: L07 = 100: L1.0 = 50: but I could equally be hopelessly wrong.
So I took the 320th spot with each of them in turn. I didn't appear to make any appreciable difference when I PS'd them.
So I selected the best [the last] for V7

Whilst I had the tripod out - I took several of the same shots with the same settings with the F5 with ISO100 Ektar in at 320th spot.
I'll see if there's any significant improvement with the film shot.
It'll be a week before that gets processed.

Thanks for all your advice and encouragement. Much appreciated


SlowSong e2 Member 64838 forum postsSlowSong vcard England29 Constructive Critique Points
28 Nov 2012 - 10:15 PM

I was wondering if anyone'd get a pic of Jupiter and the Moon tonight. Well done Jack. It's been a really clear night for it.

28 Nov 2012 - 10:30 PM

It's beautifully clear Chris. Unfortunately, it's me that's not clear (about what I'm doing GrinGrinTongueWink)
If you don't try - you don't learn, do you? Wink

MossyOak  2 England15 Constructive Critique Points
28 Nov 2012 - 10:44 PM

Thats a great improvement Jack. Just a little on the soft side which could be down to a couple of things. Too much of a crop, you dont need to blow it up as much and the other might be did you use a remote whilst on the tripod. I couldn't find mine tonight so I used the timer that way it was rock solid on the tripod. Think tomorrow I will try it again but later to try and get Jupiter in as well as you have done.

28 Nov 2012 - 11:05 PM

I'll try to improve on that tomorrow night too Richard.
I used the timer, but I think it was set for only 2 seconds.
Tomorrow I'll set it for 5 seconds or, better still, I'll use my remote.
Tonight was all a bit of a rush, I suppose. I'll take the time to get set up properly tomorrow.

And experiment with the crop factor in PS too

Val is now insisting that she told me it was Jupiter ~ I knew it would finish up being my fault GrinGrin

28 Nov 2012 - 11:08 PM

Have you done that with histogram? - curves? - contrast?, Willie.
It certainly improves the detail, doesn't ti?

banehawi Critique Team 10988 forum postsbanehawi vcard Canada2984 Constructive Critique Points
28 Nov 2012 - 11:09 PM

V1 has a certain spooky charm. Ive uploaded a mod of V7 thats essentially sharpened. black = black, white = white, mono, and smaller size as Richard suggests to make it look less grainy. V7 is overexposed generally, and you get a way better moon if its a little under.

So my 2 cents worth on shooting the Moon. Very solid tripod; remote shutter release of timer; aperture at the sharpest aperture for your lens, usually f/5.6 - f/8, - your use of f/18 will cause loss of detail, not more detail. Keep in mind you are really shooting a flat disk in the sky, - its too far away to be considering depth of field. Looking at your shot, and seeing how it responds to sharpening, a few likely suspects can be too tightly cropped (covered by Richard), not focused precisely; movement in the camera; overexposure, or all of the above!

Camera set to Manual focus; place the Moon in the centre of the lens, and using the timer or remote, and manual setting, ISO 100, use f/5.6 and 1/500th. Review the image, and adjust the shutter speed, shorter or longer as the case may be.

So with all this advice, we will be expecting spectacular NASA style shots!



28 Nov 2012 - 11:34 PM

I can achieve something like yours with the histogram.
Not as good with curves: & contrast was a non-starter. Grin

Quote: we will be expecting spectacular NASA style shots!

I do like a challenge ~ quite what you'll receive in response to the challenge is anyone's guess. Wink
But I'll certainly do my best.
I won't upload anything until I'm sure I've covered everything I've been provided with this evening - & I'm satisfied that I couldn't have produced anything better.
Then I'll take the same shot withe F5, on the same settings (& compare digi/film)

I've got to do something very special to get anywhere near Richard's offering, this evening. That's the bench-mark !!

Last Modified By strokebloke at 28 Nov 2012 - 11:34 PM
banehawi Critique Team 10988 forum postsbanehawi vcard Canada2984 Constructive Critique Points
29 Nov 2012 - 2:24 AM

Thats an 800mm lens Richard is using!

Heres a 300mm Moon shot I took last year http://www.ephotozine.com/user/banehawi-20793/gallery/photo/moon-19315984, so you can get a decent shot at 300mm.

Sharpening and contrast Jack on your original.


paulbroad  789 forum posts United Kingdom880 Constructive Critique Points
29 Nov 2012 - 5:02 PM

Not too keen on the idea. V1 is reasonable and v7 an adequate moon stock shot, but the remainder don't work for me. The moon is actually very bright when full. My stock shots are on a very firm Benbo tripod with 500 mm, ISO 100, 1/200 @F8. But check LCD and adjust. A reasonably wide aperture is not an issue, depth of field hardly a problem to a few thousand miles. Camera shake is a problem as is critical manual focusing.


29 Nov 2012 - 6:01 PM

Willie - you're not going to get "spectacular NASA style shots!" this evening I'm afraid.
It is cloudy and overcast - quite unlike last night - and the moon, though present, has a misty halo around it, effectively trebling its diameter.
If the evening improves later, I will get some shots. Wink

29 Nov 2012 - 7:07 PM

Well, the sky has cleared up here miraculously Willie. Your 'Super-Shots' might be 'on'.
I'm just waiting for the moon to clear the top of the silver birch trees.
The tripod is all set up. The remote control is connected. I have a light to check my settings with, & then turn off for the shots.
My camera is set to manual; ISO100; F5; 1/500th; I'll start there and adjust as appropriate.

Watch this space GrinGrinGrin

Sooty_1 Critique Team 41267 forum posts United Kingdom203 Constructive Critique Points
30 Nov 2012 - 8:18 PM

You'll struggle to even see Pluto, much less photograph it. It is only lit by reflected light from the sun, which is around 6000 million miles away. Pluto itself has been 'downgraded' to dwarf planet, and is probably the largest Kuyper Belt object, rather than one of the solar system major planets. You'll need a big telescope.
As you e seen, a decent moon picture needs much less exposure than you think!


30 Nov 2012 - 8:48 PM

Yes - we determined several days ago that it wasn't Pluto, Sooty.
Perhaps you'd like to put one of your decent moon pictures up, so that we can see how it should be done

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