Sun 11-Jan-09 02:51 PM | edited Sun 11-Jan-09 02:52 PM by Hotswimmer
Hey, did any of you guys go out there last night and give this a try? This is the best I was able to get out of my D300 and Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8, handheld. I'm still a n00b. I'd love to see some shots from some of you guys who know what you're doing, especially with longer focal length lenses than mine.
It really upsets me to live in a location like Western, PA where the sky is always always overcast. I wanted to shoot the moon. But all I saw was dark gray.
From a lunar perspective, it was actually a very special moon because it was brighter and larger in the sky than you would typically see. Can't remember the exact name for this lunar event, but sorry I missed it.
> >3. The best shots of the moon and it's craters is not when >it's full. A half or 3/4 moon shows better craters. > >4. Use the lens's sweet spot, usually f8.
I got some nice shots a few nights ago (3/4 moon) with an 80-200 F2.8D Nikkor and Kenko 1.4x converter. At the present time here in the UK, Venus is a fantastic sight for a few hours after sunset, tracking along the ecliptic. You think it's an aircraft landing light until you realise it's not moving! With the above lens combination and cropping (or enlarging) to the extent that the image is getting pixelated, it's possible to make out the spherical shape with only about half illuminated.
John Gruffydd Mold, Wales, UK D300, D200, OM1, OM2n, Bronica ETRSi, Lumix LX5
Sun 11-Jan-09 07:58 PM | edited Sun 11-Jan-09 07:59 PM by bertsirkin
Good shot, but needs some tweaking in PS. It was snowing here during the full moon, but here's a shot I took with a D2X and 70-200/2.8 last year. The shot was cropped significantly and the RAW file tweaked in PS. 1/100, f10, ISO 100
I just have to laugh at all of these "biggest moon since/until" stories. After all, wasn't last month's supposedly even bigger according to the article out then? (Something like this is the closest it will be in some thousand years....) Anyway, I shot last month and I have an odd fixation with shooting the moon, so I avoided this month. From last month:
Actually, the moon doen't vary in size/distance by very much -- only a few percent at the extremes. The fact the moon was so high in the sky and was viewable through a relatively thinner layer of atmosphere was more important last night. But if the "biggest-closest" cry gets people out to try their gear, great. FYI, the moon's lit by the same sun that lights the earth on a sunny day, so full moon exposures are right around the old reciprocal of the ISA at f16 that we used before there were meters in cameras and before we could afford a Weston hand held. If you wait to 1/4 moon (when you see half of the globe lit) you'll get better contrast because shadows are starker from the lower sun angle. When hand holding, a porch rail, a stump, etc., can aid. Good luck -- or have your wife sit very still and prop the Nikon on her shoulder! That way she gets to participate too.
I did, once I watched the ball game I got up and looked out back, grabbed the gaiters, the snowshoes and walking poles and got some nice shots of the full moon and landscape. I underexposed my a half stop which looked more like night time. It came out very well. I don't think I can post any images here as i am a non paying member.
I just wanted to say thank you for sharing your photos and giving me some pointers. Some really nice shots there. I have a new appreciation for tripods, and learned something about the mirror up release mode!
Y'all know that you can shoot the moon w/ the sunny 16 rule as a start, right? Some will say use the "looney 11" rule, but that can blow highlights for the full moon. Craters photograph better at 3/4 or 1/2 moon.
Use manual exposure, set the focus to infinity and keep your shutter speed above 1/250, and you should be fine.
Tomorrow evening (Jan 26th) at around sundown (EST) the new moon will be about 14 hours old. To even see it is a huge challenge, especially this time of year (in the Northern Hemisphere- this is prime season for the Southern hemisphere).
On Tuesday evening (27th) you will see a 1 day 14 hour crescent, which may also be challenging but is doable in ideal conditions. On Wednesday it's a slam dunk in clear skies. And so on. This is the week! Unfortunately, in the Mid Atlantic area all I will be likely to see is flurries.
_________________________________ Neil Nikonians Team My Gallery
>Tomorrow evening (Jan 26th) at around sundown (EST) the new >moon will be about 14 hours old. To even see it is a huge >challenge, especially this time of year (in the Northern >Hemisphere- this is prime season for the Southern >hemisphere). > >On Tuesday evening (27th) you will see a 1 day 14 hour >crescent, which may also be challenging but is doable in ideal >conditions. On Wednesday it's a slam dunk in clear skies. >And so on. This is the week! Unfortunately, in the Mid >Atlantic area all I will be likely to see is flurries. >
Neil: Thanks for the info. I will give it a try, but weather forecast for our local area too is far from ideal.
Hi Steve, It does make somewhat of a difference even at infinity. Click on this http://www.slrgear.com/reviews/showproduct.php/product/992/cat/13 and then click on the "blur index" and play a little to see where they have tested your lens at different focal lengths and f stops to find your "sweet spot" Kim Western burbs of Chicago This message was sent to you using 100% recycled pixels.
Next time you do this, try ISO 200 at 1/400s. With a decent tripod that should be more than fast enough. Your image is very good, but a bit "gritty" due to the high ISO compared to what you can do if you can lower ISO. If you shot that hand held then you will find out how good the VR is on that lens (I have never shot that lens so I don't know the limits).
Very nice image, Juerg, which dispels the oft stated misconception that you need very fast shutter speeds for lunar imaging - your EXIF indicates 1/10s, which sounds about right for F/16 ISO 100. You do need good support and good technique, though, which you handled well.
The performance of the Sigma with a TC is impressive.
Sun 18-Jan-09 01:45 PM | edited Sun 18-Jan-09 01:50 PM by nrothschild
Nice work, Brad! I haven't shot the moon with my 70-200 since I was shooting a D70 and then D2H. The res of the D300 sensor really helps here. I would stop it down to F/4 or F/5.6 though, since the shutter speeds should still be more than adequate, although you would want to bracket your aperture and see how that plays out.
The full moon is a very difficult subject because the contrast is quite low, much lower than the partial phases. You may want to experiment with various PP strategies to increase the contrast. I've always felt that after some point, the difference between a good moon and a great moon is all in the PP
Since you ask, here is the last lunar image I shot, with the D300 and a 500/4P + TC-301 converter at 1000mm
D300 500/4 Ai-P TC-301 @1000mm 1/80s F/11 ISO 200
Here is a different lunar image- a new moon exposed to show the "EarthShine". Unfortunately I was in a hurry and botched it. I should have shot it without the TC-301 because the TC added no value, no detail, and just unnecessarily increased the exposure time, which is far too long without a motorized mount. I never have my motorized equatorial mount with me when I have a chance to shoot a new moon, which needs a clear view very close to the horizon.
Next time I get the chance to do this, I'm going to shoot it at 300/2.8 and/or 500/4, allowing me to use either a lower ISO or a shorter exposure, or both. With the 300/2.8 I will have 3 extra stops to play with. I think ISO 1600 F/2.8 1/2s (double the overall exposure) will be a good starting point. You can do the same with your 70-200 but you will need a very solid tripod for a 1/2s exposure.
D300 500/4 Ai-P TC-301 @1000mm 1s F/8 ISO 3200
Here is a compilation of my lunar images, covering all the phases of the moon with a variety of gear. Most should have EXIF. Some images were taken with a small astronomical telescope and Coolpix; those exposures are misleading due to the afocal projection used.
Edit: The D300's LiveView is a wonderful tool for focusing my 500/4 MF working at 1000mm. The only problem is that my arms are not long enough to reach the focus ring while I'm looking at the rear LCD
Shooting it low in the sky may be a lesser evil for you, but in general it's best to shoot it high, or at least 40 degrees or so, for the sharpest image. That's more important as you get past 500mm though, and run into air turbulence issues
Just a comment to say that FocusMagic does a very excellent job on the moon. For some reason the full moon in particular needs a lot of sharpening. For a partial moon, such as the image above in my reply# 27, USM will put very bad halos on the craters because they are naturally highlighted on one side of the rim. You can use FM to do some very heavy sharpening without generating those halos and overemphasizing the sunlit rims. My images above were both sharpened with FM. Sometimes I do a very mild USM after a less aggressive deconvolution (FM). Just some ideas to try. _________________________________ Neil Nikonians Team My Gallery
>*snip*For some reason the full moon in particular >needs a lot of sharpening. *snip*
The reason is actually very simple and is the same reason you suggested earlier to shoot the moon higher in the sky. The moon is in space and the light is for lack of better verbage "PURE". The atmosphere is acting as a lens with the reflected light from the moon and diffracting some. When the moon is lower in the sky that lens is very very thick. The amount of diffraction of the light is pretty slight in genral but is there especially if there are significant changes in density of the air between your camera and the moon.
I especially loved your new moon exposed to show the "EarthShine.” I will have to try to duplicate that shot.
I also loved your complete set of lunar phases that took you four years to compile. Very impressive! Please describe the small astronomical telescope that you used with your Coolpix to capture those shots.
I'll give you a tip. In a couple of years we will have another full lunar eclipse. That is the most challenging moon you are likely to swhoot (unless you do a solar eclipse, but solar eclipses can be technically easier, depending on how you shoot it, but time limited). The exposure of the earthshine is very similar to an eclipsed moon. I believe it is impossible to get a lunar image such as I have in my gallery with a fixed tripod because the shutter speeds are too slow and it doesn't like high ISO's. I shot the last lunar eclipse with a motorized mount to track the moon, allowing me long multi-second exposures with no smearing. You have to do some difficult trade-offs of ISO and shutter speed to get the best you can from it. Earthshine is where you want to practice for that. There is no other way to practice and experiment for a lunar eclipse.
My telescope is a 3.5" Questar. It has a self contained motorized mount, which makes it easy to keep the moon framed and eliminate that part of the shutter speed puzzle. It is effectively about 1250mm FL F/20, but on a camera it is or can be longer, depending on the plumbing I use. The Coolpix 950 and 990 worked well on that scope because it has no mechanical shutter. It is limited, of course, in IQ due to the P&S design and it's age now. I prefer shooting the moon now with my D300, 500/4 Ai-P and 2x TC at 1000mm, for a variety of reasons.
I also have a 7" Questar with motorized fork mount. That is about 2500mm F/20 and up. I've done some lunar work with that, but I use a modified web cam (the lens is removed) and stack hundreds of images, usually working about 4500mm with a doubler (like a TC). At that focal length, a single image from a high end camera cannot compete with those little web cams because of atmospheric seeing issues. Sounds weird, but it's true! What a shame . I still want to try some imaging with the 7 and D300, but just to play. Interestingly, the pixel density of the web cam sensor and D300 are about the same. Just a smaller frame. There are some purpose built cameras using the basic web cam sensors (somewhat larger/higher res sensors, I think, than my ToUCam), but I haven't decided what flavor I want.
_________________________________ Neil Nikonians Team My Gallery
Welcome to Nikonians! I also see you are a D7000 shooter - I am too.
You have followed the advice of some in this thread to photograph the moon at half or three-quarters to take advantage of crater shadows - I like the results.
I much prefer #2 - very nice - the settings seemed to work out about right.
#1 appears very noisy, but I'm not sure why? Someone with more experience can tell us. The D7000 should not have a problem with ISO 400, so perhaps something to do with the combination of high shutter speed?
Took another shot of the moon last night with a D300 and 55-200 VR zoom, again hand held. In my previous post above the camera was set for spot focus and spot metering, spot metering did a pretty good job. In this photo I used the exposure compensation to underexpose a bit, otherwise the camera set the exposure with spot metering.
A little background about myself. I was into photography back in the 70's, took some classes, processed my own black and white photos. Priorities changed in 1979 when I met my current wife and lost interest in photography until 2 months ago when I purchased a used D300 body. I intended to use it with my old lenses but didn't realize Nikon had done away with the split screen. I found manually focusing very difficult with my old eyes so I picked up two inexpensive lenses, 18-55 VR and a 55-200 VR zoom. I have a friend that likes taking pictures of the moon and has encouraged me to take some moon shots, although he said this lens isn't long enough.
I paid $118 for the 55-200 zoom rebuilt by Nikon. I think the results are amazing for such an inexpensive lens, same can be said for the 18-55 zoom. Ive taken some night shots and it seems almost to easy with the D300 compared to my old film SLR's back in the 70's. I have taken some hand held night shots of buildings etc which I feel are pretty amazing with these VR lens.