Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.
Of course, that’ll really only work out for you if you happen to be wearing a space suit…. haha
This past weekend we had a super blood moon eclipse. I don’t recall ever seeing a lunar eclipse before that, and I have to say, it was pretty damn cool.
For those of you who missed it, this is a photo stack composite of the first 20 minutes of that eclipse. These exposures are approximately 2 minutes apart.
As for the image itself…it’s not going to win any awards. Unless you’re giving out awards for being awesome? Yeah, it might win that. ;-) But it *is* an opportunity to talk about photographing the moon.
When you choose to shoot for the moon, you have to remember three things: underexpose the scene to properly expose the moon, large (to large-ish) aperture, and fast shutter speed.
The moon is very bright, and in order to catch the details on the surface, you need to under expose your image. Otherwise, you’ll blow your highlights. This is one of those times were it is okay to crush your shadows on the histogram!
In order to prevent the “starburst” effect, you need a wider aperture (aka f/lower number). I would say if you’re heading toward f/16 or higher, you may run into problems. Your camera’s sweet spot (generally f/9-f/11) or lower number will be a wide enough aperture to prevent the starburst effect.
Because our position in the surface of earth is constantly changing in relation to the moon, you will also need a fast shutter speed to prevent blur in your images. That works out fine, though, since underexposing your image is part of the master plan!
To capture these exposures, I used a tripod and a 2 sec timer to avoid camera shake, a zoom lens, I put my camera into manual mode, and used the live view feature to focus manually. If your camera doesn’t have a live view feature, setting your focus to infinity should get you pretty close and you can tweak it from there.
The image settings are: ISO 100, 135mm, 1/500 sec, f/5.6
Happy shooting! :-)