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"Micro Moon" 2

By LonelyLisa
Any feedback and suggestions are welcomed.
This is from the same series as the one I posted yesterday. I received very helpful comments on it, and will ask different questions. I will group questions by problem area (or, what appears to me to be a problme).
1. Lack of focus. I used a tripod (as I do 80% of time) and 2 sec. delay. (I don't have a remote release yet.) I considered taking two images, exposing for f/g and b/g, but the moon rises so fast that I gave up on this idea. How can I increase sharpness (without overdoing) in post?

2. Noise. The image has been cropped from 5184x3456 to 255x1406, and there is grain, even though I kept ISO at 100. I played with Clarity and Noise reduction in ACR just a little, but not much, since the image is blurred and noisy already (overdoing Clarity added noise, but noise reduction added blur). Is there a way to reduce noise without impacting clarity?

3. Light. I was fortunate (I think) that the moon was rising at the same time as the sun was setting, hence the f/g (for example, the church) caught the last rays of sun. On the initial image the moon was too pale, and I made it more saturated (by reducing exposure in ACR). However, I am not sure how my two sources of light are harmonized in the picture. I understand it's the same source of light, the sun, only it reflects off the surface of the moon just crossing the horizon and of f/g (e.g. the church and a few tree trunks) differently. Does one need to be a little warmer than the other? Or is it a matter of taste?

Tags: Landscape and travel Moon rising

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This photo is here for critique. Please only comment constructively and with suggestions on how to improve it.


18 Jan 2014 3:52AM

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paulbroad 10 123 1250 United Kingdom
18 Jan 2014 8:08AM
Quite nice, but not as sharp as your other and that is unfortunate. You need to use the camera delayed action to release the shutter. set 2 sec or 10 sec, then press the button. That gives the camera/tripod time to stop vibrating before the shutter fires. You could use mirror lock up but we are then getting more complicated and, with a decent tripod, should rarely be needed.

Focus manually on the item you wish sharp. Take a number of exposures varying settings.

DO NOT USE f32. You are not going to get the depth of field you think you need. You are forcing a long shutter speed and not using the lens at it's best settings. f8 would be more than enough.

You will not get noise at ISO100. You are seeing an out of focus image and long exposure as noise.

Mike43 7 18 21 England
18 Jan 2014 9:15AM
I can see the picture you were after, and in the circumstances you done a good job but those tree in the foreground kills your picture for me, will upload a mod where I will have clone out what I can of the branches see what you think.

I am always talking about Light/Time of Day, but position/location is as important, I know it is sometimes hard if not impossible to get that prefect position for the shot, we all been there and I for sure have got the t-shirt.

I think Willie or Paul might have mentioned combining a separate shots of the moon and church together good idea and you wouldn't have to worry about those bloody branches, anyway just a thought.
Fogey 5 96 13 United Kingdom
18 Jan 2014 2:44PM
I prefer the original, with the branches in.

As for unobtrusive sharpening in PP.

Using photoshop, create a copy layer. From the menu bar, click Filter > Other > High Pass. Set the pixels to something like 4-5, click OK.

The image will be grey. Move to the layers pallet and from the drop down chevron, select Overlay. Use the opacity slider to get the desired result.
iancrowson Plus
8 211 146 United Kingdom
18 Jan 2014 4:23PM
Attractive photo.
Better composition than last but maybe not as sharp.
For exposures of over one sec you should engage long exposure compensation to help reduce noise.
I've copied and pasted below.

quote "The Canon T3i (d600) offers two types of adjustable noise reduction. Long Exposure noise reduction can be performed for exposures one second or longer, and works by taking a second "dark frame" of equal duration with the shutter closed, and then subtracting it from the first frame. This reduces or eliminates most noise generated by the sensor during long exposures at low ISOs, but can make noise worse at higher ISOs (at ISO 1,600 and above). Available settings are Off, Auto and On, and are accessed from Custom Function II-4. The Off setting is the default."

Something is not right for the image to be so unsharp.
Focusing manually on on setting just a touch under infinity at F16 should have both moon and spire in sharp focus. (can't be sure from photo how far away church actually is)
Have a look here: and do a few calculations.
Certainly use manual focus and magnify in live view to check.
Auto focus just won't do job in poor light.
If lens has VR (what ever Canon call vibration reduction) it should be disabled when using a tripod.

f16 would have given 2sec which should have been ok for rising moon but longer would show movement. As Paul says f32 is not good and would result in loss of quality from lens. f8 or f11 much better but watch out for movement of subject (moon) You could probably use ISO 200 and f11 with 2sec.
I personally shoot a number of frames with a range of settings with semi dark subjects as I'm not sure results are always predictable or even repeatable.

Imaginative photography, just a little fine tuning,

Niknut Plus
8 1.8k 76 United Kingdom
18 Jan 2014 5:20PM
A couple of suggestions that come to mind......

a) f32 aperture can cause serious 'defraction'...a breakup of the image......use f8 or f11 !

b) Focus manually & set the distance to 'Infinity'......the camera might struggle to lock on to a low-light, shimmering image !

c) You may not be able to get a dead sharp image, as you're shooting through heat-haze/atmosphere ??...the outline of the
moon is distinctly distorted !

d) Take plenty of shots, at various settings, & pick the best one & ditch any less than perfect !! costs nothing to shoot
say 30 shots rather than just 3 ??

e) keep at it !!'s an interesting project !!Smile
paulbroad 10 123 1250 United Kingdom
19 Jan 2014 9:17AM
Be careful. On some zoom lenses the so called infinity setting is not totally sharp. Focus manually by eye. Use the liveview and screen enlargement if you have it.

iancrowson Plus
8 211 146 United Kingdom
19 Jan 2014 10:31AM
Interesting point by Paul. I have noticed this too. Distance and DOF scales on modern lens seem a bit dodgy.
banehawi Plus
14 1.8k 3893 Canada
19 Jan 2014 3:28PM
Hi Lena.

You have some answers already, but I will add my comments also in case you find something useful.

1. You are judging focus by apparent sharpness. You get a well focused sharp shot when you shoot the image originally, thats the short answer. To get a sharp Moon shot, the atmosphere between the camera and the Moon is the most important element. It has to be crystal clear, and in this one, its not, and that what gives the Moon that colour, - atmospheric pollution. The Moon is also very distorted, so thats either another effect of the athmosphere, - or, less likely, a re sizing error, - see below in 2. So it may be as sharp as it can be. In addition, f/32 will without doubt cause significant loss of sharpness due to the natural phenomenon called Diffraction. The lens will get progressively less sharp as you go smaller than f/11. So therefore, use a larger aperture, like f/11. Manually focus as Paul mentions, and this simple process will show you real time just how sharp the Moon can get, or not get as you zero in on the best setting. Most modern lenses do not come with any distance, or infinity markings. The ones that did, always had a mark jst before infinity to use rather than infinity. Your shutter speed is much too slow to get a sharp Moon also, - and using f/11 will also give you a faster shutter speed. You need a shutter speed of something in the range of 1/500th at f/11 to ensure the Moons movement is stopped. The tripod you use must be a very solid piece of gear to be stable with a learge lens. The 2 second delay may be too short to ensure no camera movement, and 10 seconds would be too long allowing the Moon to be in a different position, - so opt for a remote release.
In post processing, you cannot sharpen an original image thats not reasonably sharp to start with. Its simply not possible. You can make apparent sharp areas look a little sharper with the simple use of Unsharp mask.

2. Noise. Do not use the clarity slider, - its will always make noise worse. At ISO 100, noise will be at its lowest value. A long shutter can increase noise unless you have long exposure noise reduction enabled in the cameras settings. The image dimension you provided, - the smaller ones, are not correct, - can you update the settings? I would be interested to know the real settings, as the Moon is very distorted here; I wouldnt want to rule out a re -sizing problem. The noise in this image seems low, - and as before, some of it can be due to a long exposure, some atmospheric pollution. If images coming from the camera at ISO 100 are normally noise free, it not a camera issue. You can reduce noise, BUT the reduction of noise is accomplished by blurring, and this will not be to your advantage. A sharp noisy image is always superior to a blurred clean image.

3. Light. You altered the original exposure. This will have a lot of impacts you are not aware of, and one of them is noise; another is sharpness. You can amplify noise by decreasing exposure, and cause the loss of detail, so you need to be careful, and discrete with adjustments. Thats the down side of the saturated colours, which may be best adjusted by using the colour saturation and not exposure.
A single image should have the same white balance throughout, - and not be different from one part to another. You set the WB manually, - what did you set it to? The overall tone is up to you, but it has to be the same across the image.

Hope this gives you some more things to use for future shots.


20 Jan 2014 10:13PM
Thanks to everyone for very helpful suggestions. I was obviously very off with that f/32 thing expecting greater DoF. Now I know better.

"The image dimension you provided, - the smaller ones, are not correct, - can you update the settings? I would be interested to know the real settings, as the Moon is very distorted here; I wouldnt want to rule out a re -sizing problem. The noise in this image seems low, - and as before, some of it can be due to a long exposure, some atmospheric pollution."
Willie, I don't think I re-sized the image. (BTW, is there a way in photoshop to trace all the history of an image from RAW to the last version, after it was saved under a different name several times? Probably not...) Here are the modifications:
5184x3456 (RAW)
5028x3352 (compressed to jpg.)
2897x1931 (1st crop)
2500x1406 (2nd crop)

White Balance was set to Cloudy.

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