I have always been fascinated by stunning photographs of the moon. Ever since I took to photography, I have been trying my hand at capturing the moon and to improve each time I took a shot of the moon.
As with many beginners I too ended with a white blob on my first shot.
Some of the reading that I did on the subject came to my rescue and was able to tune into an appropriate settings to get a decent shot.
Moon is in reality a bright object which is also moving, so it is necessary that a shutter speed of 1/125 or faster is used. An aperture setting of f8-f11 depending on the situation may be used. It is said that the sweet spot of many lenses are in this range. It is always better to keep the ISO at its lowest setting. Unless you have a very steady hand it is better to have a good tripod while attempting moon photography.
The requirement of a telephoto lens goes without saying. High end telephoto lenses, tele converters etc help to get sharper pictures and details on the surface of the moon.
However you can get some pretty good results without having any high end gear. I have shot all my moon pictures using an entry level crop sensor DSLR and a 55-250mm lens. In fact using the crop sensor camera effectively increases your focal length thereby increasing your magnification. Following the above settings as a basic guidance and a tight crop at the end would give you results which is way better than the white blob.
Over the years I have learned to use the live view magnification, back button focus, remote shutter release, tripod etc to better my skills.
Next I decided to try a hand at shooting the moon with a foreground. I have been awestruck seeing many such photographs and wanted try it out my self as well. It was a big challenge to expose the foreground and the moon together. Many attempts turned futile and many articles I read about talked about exposing the foreground and the moon separately and then blending them together.I am not too good at post processing to these levels and hence did not pursue the subject.
During one of my evening walks last December I saw the almost full moon rising from behind the Sharjah University City buildings. These buildings were pretty well lit giving me a feeling that it may be possible to expose for the building and the moon together with some compromises. On checking the moon rise and setting time for the next day, I found that the moon was to rise on the same location the next day as well but little later. So decided to make an attempt to see if I can mange to get what I wanted.
The accidental view the previous day had given a fair idea from where to expect the moon to come up from. However I was a bit skeptical as I am not an expert on the phases of the moon and the path it follows. I discovered that night how helpful is to have a friend along with you.
The wait was soon rewarded when the moon showed up itself just behind the buildings
I realized that night how fast the rising moon moves.This is where having a dear friend Asok along helped. While I was clicking away, he was following the moon’s transit and guiding me the next location.He guided me to re position myself and to capture some shots that I always wanted to capture.
Here is the moon rising from behind the minaret,
In order to expose both the moon and the building I used the following settings – ISO400, f7.1 to 9.0 in BULB mode. Used a slower shutter speed of 1/5 seconds using a remote. The wide angle pictures were at 65mm and zoomed in ones at 220mm. To get the details of the moon I have used a radial filter in Light Room. I found it difficult to expose correctly for both the building and the moon and hence used the filter.
Ended the day with a normal shot at the moon.
Looking forward for your comments and feedback