After I commented on one of Neil Rothschild's recent posts, in the ongoing thread about shooting the Moon in the "New to Photography" forum, he asked me to re-post some photos of the Moon here in the Astro forum that I had originally added to the "Nikon 1" forum about a year ago (here) in a thread titled "Waxing Moon with V1." I included a few additional shots from the same series below.
Here is the original post ...
I purchased a Nikon V1 for its portability, to use mainly for family snapshots and other photo opportunities when not carrying my DSLRs. Of course, I also got the FT-1 adapter to have some fun with my collection of Nikkor lenses on the V1. I have been particularly pleased with the amount of detail that can be pulled out of these small pixels when using longer lenses.
The following sequence of the Moon this week were all taken with the V1 mounted on a 300 mm f/2.8 VR with TC-20E III and FT-1 adapter.
Atmospheric turbulence, high thin clouds and cold windy conditions made it difficult to get a good sharp shot. This is the best of about a dozen attempts at the crescent moon.
Atmosphere was a bit more stable tonight, and less wind. However, clouds started obscuring the Moon almost immediately after I set up. My first shot was the only one that was not significantly degraded by the haze or cloud cover.
Warmer tonight with a stable atmosphere. High, thin haze produced a visible halo around the Moon, but did not significantly degrade the image.
These were cropped at about 50% of the vertical frame, with a slight WB adjustment, and some contrast enhancement and sharpening in PP, and re-sized. Full size versions can be viewed at my Smugmug site.
From a follow-up post a few nights later...
Tonight was the first clear night since last Wednesday. There were still some thin residual clouds that blurred a few shots. I finally got this shot of the gibbous Moon during a brief clear interval, with enough moisture still in the atmosphere to produce a visible halo. Same lens and TC combination was used on the V1. Crop is about 2/3 the height of the original frame.
The following additional shots, not posted in the original thread, complete the series.
Two days before full Moon
One day before full Moon
Note the slight change in the Moon's orientation. This last photo was taken from a different location, Mystic, CT, about 95 miles east and a just a few miles north from the Westchester, NY site where all of the earlier photos were taken. Mystic is located on the CT shore, so lot's of moisture in the atmosphere resulted in a distinct halo around the Moon.
Lens with TC, and tiny V1 camera, were mounted on a Gitzo 1325 tripod with an RRS BH-55 ball head using a Wimberly sidekick. This arrangement enabled balancing over the tripod for better stability in the often windy conditions. Manual focus and exposure settings were used for all shots, based on the normal starting point of one stop over "sunny 16" for the full moon, and up to 2 or 3 stops additional exposure for partially illuminated phases. Electronic shutter was used for all shots with an ML-L3 infrared remote to minimize any additional vibration.
#1. "RE: Waxing Moon with V1, redux" | In response to Reply # 0nrothschild Registered since 25th Jul 2004Mon 29-Apr-13 04:51 PM
Some of the crater detail on the gibbous phases is simply amazing but we need to go out to your linked Smugmug full size images to see it. I don't think I've ever seen that much detail on a full moon image taken with a DSLR.
I would typically only see that type of detail taken with a long focus very high quality astro scope, generally of a very small section of the moon, or occasionally large stitched panos to small sections.
The fact that it came from a 300/2.8 should not be overlooked!
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#2. "RE: Waxing Moon with V1, redux" | In response to Reply # 1Mon 29-Apr-13 06:53 PM
Thanks Neil. I was also impressed by some of these shots when I first took them. The 300 mm f/2.8 is roughly the equivalent of a 4 inch refractor, and apparently quite a good one. Even at 1/3 or 2/3 stops down to get a bit better contrast with the TC, it still has about a 3.5 inch or so aperture. The pixel pitch on the V1 results in about 1.2 arcsec/px at 600 mm, and there is definitely detail visible with good contrast over 2-3 pixels, particularly around some of the crater rims. This is very close to diffraction limited performance. Once in a while, everything just goes right!
Back in the mid-1970s, I took a few shots of the near full Moon with a Nikon F2 mounted on a friend's 3.5 inch telescope using Kodachrome 25. The best slide looked ok when projected. However, when I scanned it a few years ago, I was very disappointed with the resolution. Even though I used mirror lock-up and a cable release, there was obvious motion blur due to vibration. I would estimate that some of these V1 shots have at least 4X better resolution than that early attempt.
#3. "RE: Waxing Moon with V1, redux" | In response to Reply # 0
As anyone who has "shot the moon" with just a camera and lens can attest, you are getting excellent results. Very nice work!
And, it always amazes me how less interesting the shots are when the moon is full, losing all the relief that is visible with the grazing light. My first few attempts were always with a full moon
Just like I previsualized it, more or less...
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#5. "RE: Waxing Moon with V1, redux" | In response to Reply # 0
Challenging conditions in eastern CT (clouds and moisture) the past two nights made it difficult to photograph the first quarter Moon.
Just (about 4 hours) before first quarter Moon
Slightly gibbous Moon (note the visible halo extending from the east limb)
I set up the camera/tripod (had to re-adjust aim--no tracking--about every minute or two to keep Moon near center of frame), then while viewing the Moon through binoculars, I used the IR remote to release shutter during the clearest intervals.
Extra contrast enhancement was necessary in processing these photos, especially on tonight's shot. I am surprised at the amount of detail visible under these atmospheric conditions, particularly in the mountainous region (Montes Apennius) and surrounding craters about 1/3 of the way down along the terminator from the north. Full size versions can be viewed here.