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May New Moon Challenge!

nrothschild

US
10916 posts

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nrothschild Neil is an expert in several areas, including camera support Registered since 25th Jul 2004
Sun 05-May-13 10:11 AM | edited Mon 06-May-13 08:02 AM by nrothschild

I thought I would try a challenge. If it works, maybe some contests?

May is about the last very favorable month to shoot the New(est) Moon and the following few days.

The challenge is simple: Shoot the earliest moon you can in May, after the New Moon that occurs on May 10 at 12:28am U.T. (Universal Time, or Greenwich Mean Time). In the USA this happens on May 9 at 7:28pm EDST. Optional: follow up with crescent moons up to 4 days old.

In the USA, for example, the first New Moon you can shoot will be the evening of May 10th, at sunset. If you want to shoot that moon, or you are somewhere in the world where you can shoot it from around 16 hours old to 24 hours, you can read more than you want to know about chasing an earliest moon here in my pinned post regarding shooting these very early (and very late) moons.

You can shoot it any way you want...

You can shoot a high resolution image, an image of the moon decked in clouds, or shoot a landscape at any focal length. I have a couple of examples in the linked post.

If you live in the Southern Hemisphere (that's you, Gary!), May is not as favorable in terms of chasing the newest possible moon. However, I think it can be very favorable on the following evenings, especially for landscapes.

You can also shoot Earth Shine, best done on the 2nd through 4th night of the new moon (May 11, 12 and 13 for the USA and Western Hemisphere). I did not talk about Earth Shine in my pinned topic. I should have but it was too long and complicated already

To shoot Earth Shine you have to overexpose the thin crescent in order to expose the very slightly lit "unlit" portion. This light is sunlight reflected off the Earth, to the moon, and back to the Earth. Not much light makes the round trip .

The Earth Shine exposure is approximately similar to a full lunar eclipse exposure, which is, on a fixed tripod, as long as you can get away with without too much blur. If you have a choice of long lenses, I would suggest very modest focal lengths, up to 300mm or so, and as fast as possible. And shoot wide open. Bracket ISO to see what you can tolerate.

My linked topic concerning the rate of movement of celestial objects may guide you toward the optimum shutter speed for your camera and focal length.

Some examples....


The earliest moon I have shot, 21 hours old. April 25, 2009.
D300 500 f/4 Ai-P @500mm (don't do as I do, do as I say )
f/4 1/13s ISO 400

Edit: In reviewing the full set of images, I see that I did initially shoot this at 300mm f/3.5 with my 300/2.8 AFSII, as I recommend here. After I had usable images I switched to my 500/4 Ai-P.

Increasing focal length did have the effect of increasing contrast, a very good thing, but at that point my exposure was 1/13s wide open at f/4, ISO 200. The 500mm shots were better, but many would find it far more difficult at that exposure level. This was shot from a Gitzo Series 4 alloy tripod. The head was probably a Markins M20 but could have been a full Wimberly (no notes on that).

Click on image to view larger version


A deep crop of the above, illustrating that for a moon around 24 hours old, or newer, there is not much useful detail to be seen. Given the issues of subject motion and other difficulties of shooting a very new moon, this is why I suggest 300mm max. But if you insist, like I did, have at it

Click on image to view larger version


A 2 day 5 hour old moon, Earth Shine exposure
December 7, 2010
D700 500 f/4 AFS @500mm
f/4 2s ISO 1600

Click on image to view larger version


A 26 day 5 hour moon (actually an old moon), probably the best Earth Shine photo I have taken. The D700 helped because noise tends to be an issue while trying to well expose the unlit portion while minimizing motion blur.

December 2, 2010
Nikon D700 500 f/4 AFS
f/4 1/2s ISO 1600

Click on image to view larger version


A 26 hour old moon. One of my favorite new moon landscapes.
D700 70-200 f/2.8 AFS @165mm
f/4 3s ISO 800

Click on image to view larger version

_________________________________
Neil


my Nikonians gallery.

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