The Moon

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This topic contains 8 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by  Lydia Bennett 3 months, 3 weeks ago.

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    Lydia Bennett

    On my way inside the house on Sunday night after church, I noticed the moon and how bright it was and thought, “Hey you know what, it’s about time I try my hand at shooting the moon.” I’ve never really taken pictures at night other than fireworks.

    I like the fact that it does indeed look like the moon, but I don’t like the lack of artistry in the photo. However, I wasn’t sure how exactly to make it more artistic. There was a tree that I could see with my eyes, but the camera wasn’t able to capture it. I don’t know that there’s a way to go about capturing that (other than if the tree had some sort of lighting on it). How could this picture be more artistic? Feel free to give any other comments you may have.

    The attached photo is completely unedited.

    Camera: Nikon D3100; Lens: 55-200mm f/4.0-5.6

    Shot in Manual mode; handheld (my tripod was giving me trouble!).
    ISO 100 | Shutterspeed: 1/320 sec | Aperture: f/5.6 | Focal length: 200mm

    • This topic was modified 3 months, 4 weeks ago by  Lydia Bennett.

    Silas Wood

    so you noticed how bright the moon was sunday night to
    it was so bright for me i thought it was a full moon 😃

    my only thought is maybe you could crop it in a little so we could see some more details on the moon


    Logan Lamar

    Hm… shooting the moon is challenging! (but you know what they say, “if you shoot for the moon, you’ll at least end up among the stars”)…. From what I’ve tried with lunar eclipses (nothing impressive to show), I’d try including more than just the moon in your photo. It’s kind of like shooting a sunset. A lot of people see a great sunset, and then run up to it with their smartphones and take a picture of the sky—and they end up with a sunset photo that doesn’t really grab the viewer with a sense of story or place. An artistic moon shot is kind of the same way. You want to include more than just the moon.

    I think one of the easiest ways to accomplish this is to shoot the moon as it is rising or setting.
    Gibbous moons are great for that, because they’ll be fairly low in the sky as the sun is going up (or down) so your sky might actually have some red in it. The best thing about this is that the moon will look huge, and you’ll have a foreground to work with. That way, you’ll have a shot of more than just the moon.
    The other day, I was riding down a highway with my dad, and the sun had just set, and in the west, the moon was also setting (I think it was a crescent). It was obviously large, and the sunset-colored sky just made it look amazing. I didn’t have time to get my camera, but the potential for a great photo was there—I could have used the highway as a foreground which would have naturally drawn the eye to the moon at one end. The cars would have helped add a sense of story.

    Another artistic method is to shoot a huge moon with a strongly recognizable silhouette of something in front of it (like a weathervane, a cactus, or a wolf 🙂 ). The way to get a large looking moon is to use a longer lens. Personally—and I’m assuming this is the case with most of us on this form—my longest lens is a 200mm (some of you might have access to 250mm), which isn’t quite long enough to get a very big moon, but use the longest lens you have.

    I hope these two quick tips were useful! And good luck! (I want to try my hand at milky way photography sometime. We’ll see if anything comes out of it!)


    Daniel Hancock

    Yes, I think to get a full shot of the moon you need something crazy… like 1000mm.


    Lydia Bennett

    Thanks for your comments, @silas, @loganlamar and @dhancock!

    I appreciate the tips, Logan! My longest focal length is 200mm. The point about capturing the moon rising is good; last night I was it coming up and it was absolutely beautiful in the clear sky, but alas, I didn’t have my camera with me at the time! 🙂

    I shot these two photos last night with the full moon (as soon as I got ahold of my camera); the second one was my attempt at artistry through silhouette, though I’m not sure if it looks all that great or not.

    Both are unedited.


    Logan Lamar

    Hm… I think with a 200mm lens, your best bet of getting a good shot of the moon would be to shoot it as an item in part of a larger landscape. If you want to shoot justthe moon or shoot something with a huge moon… you might be needing a longer lens (or you could resize it in Photoshop to make it look like you shot it with a longer lens!)


    James Staddon

    @bennett-family, this blog post links to a past forum thread that had some good ideas on moon photography….have you seen that yet?


    Weston Auker

    Well, you all have covered it fairly well already but I might add my two cents. A tip I heard from another photographer and have come to better understand from personal experience- it is hard to shoot a full moon and get good detail because it is that bright. Using an ND filter could probably help with that, but I prefer to shoot when it isn’t quite full. A day or two on either side doesn’t make a lot of difference in the size, but can make much more difference in the total reflected light making it easier to deal with less ambient light. I have attached a couple of my better moon shots for illustrations. All three were taken with a Canon SX60HS (point and shoot with 65x optical zoom, equivalent of more than 1350 mm lens according to the approximation marks on the lens barrel) None of these have been edited
    The one with the red maple in the foreground was taken late one afternoon in the fall of 2016. F7.1, Focal length 97.73, ISO 100, shutter 1/100. This one way to to use landscape to accent the moon. (I should have gotten the moon into the top right thirds intersection)

    The “half” moon was in June of 2016, F8.0, Focal length 247.00 mm, ISO 100, shutter 1/60 This photo and the last one are more down the line of “get in close and let the moon speak for itself”. The last one should be sharper. The strong zoom does make it hard to get everything in focus. The depth of field is especially evident on the ‘half’ moon.

    The nearly full moon is also from fall of 2016 F6.5, focal length 247.00 mm, ISO100, shutter 1/100


    Lydia Bennett

    Thanks! I was coming to realize shooting with a landscape like you mentioned would be my better option; I’ll definitely be keeping my eye out for opportunities to include the moon in a landscape some day in the future!

    I had not seen that post or thread – thanks for pointing me in that direction! Certainly a good amount of info to read through there, and it all made sense (which was the best part! 🙂 ). Initially when I shot the photos I wasn’t figuring why I couldn’t get both moon & visible-to-me-foreground to come out in-camera, but then as I thought through it I was able to basically figure it out and that forum thread confirmed what I was thinking – with detailed explanation to boot!

    Thanks for your comments! I like your half-moon picture, by the way!

    Quite frankly, I hadn’t much thought about photographing the moon in great detail before the other day so this thread has really been interesting with the insights that have been brought forth! Moon photography is not something I really plan to get into, but now I’ll be much better prepared when an opportunity arises. 🙂 Thanks again everyone!

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