Moon Photography Experiment - Part 1

Daily Photography Blog - May 7, 2012

May 7, 2010

Moon Photography

For the past two nights, I experimented with taking photographs of the moon for the first time.

My first attempt

May 4, 2012. I decided to go with the Manual Mode Setting on my camera. At first, I used the default metering on my camera which was Average Metering or Matrix Metering as Nikon would call it. I zoomed in at 300mm and with my ISO set at 500, I followed the aperture and shutter speed setting that the light meter suggested - F/11 and 1/20 sec. The result was the photo below.

Moon shot #1
Photo #1: F/11, 1/20 sec, ISO 500

Photo #1 above was severely overexposed so I decided to manually set the expose to underexpose. I also changed the metering mode to Center Weighted Metering. The resulting photo below.

Moon shot #2
Photo #2: F/11, 1/80 sec, ISO 500

I got closer to the exposure I want but photo #2 was still extremely overexposed. I adjusted exposure once more keeping the metering mode still at Center Weighted Metering. I used F/22 and 1/50 sec, ISO 500. Photo is shown below.

Moon shot #3
Photo #3: F/22, 1/50 sec, ISO 500

The photo is showing more detail of the moon now but I still feel that photo #3 is just slightly overexposed. I decided to use Spot Metering next, exposure setting at F5.6 and 1/800 sec, ISO 500. Photo #4 shown below.

Moon shot #4
Photo #4: F/5.6, 1/800 sec, ISO 500

Photo #4 has the same exposure as photo #3 but I lowered the aperture to F/5.6 for photo #4 so it looks a little bit softer. So I adjusted the exposure setting a few more times until I was happy with the exposure and the sharpness of the image. Photo #5, #6 and #7 shown below.

Moon shot #5
Photo #5: F/8, 1/640 sec, ISO 500
Moon shot #6
Photo #6: F/11, 1/250 sec, ISO 500
Moon shot #7
Photo #7: F/22, 1/80 sec, ISO 500

I was finally happy with the photo #7 - or at least I was happy seeing it through the viewfinder on my camera. Looking at it on the computer at 100% magnification was another story, however. I decided that I was going to take another photo shoot the next night. I took notes and wrote down what I plan to do next. I wrote down the exposure settings I wanted to use on my next photo shoot. I'll talk about the next shoot on my next blog post tomorrow.

So what did I learn that night? I learned that experimentation is key. I learned that you don't always trust what your camera's light meter tells you. Keep shooting until you are happy with the exposure. Download it on the computer and view it at 100% magnification so you can see the detail of the photo.

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