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View Full Version : Other Techniques Moon shots and technique



Rockin Ronnie
01-15-2008, 05:12 AM
I am having trouble with moon shots. Did a seach here and found some general remarks about taking moon shots. Here is what I found.

300mm and above seem to be what folks are using to get the better shots. Hand-holding does not seem to be an option, not even a monopod. IS is not useful (no problem, I don't have it). Tripod is best using mirror-lockup and ISO about 200 or even 400. RM-1 also an option. Aperture about f/8 and a shutter speed to suit which should be fast enough to freeze the moons normal movement which I gather to be about 1/800 to 1/1000. Maybe lower is better, I don't know.

I know that atmospheric conditions vary widely from night to night and I would expect two different quality images even with the same technique.

What time of evening seems to be best? I have heard that twilight seems to be better because of the lower contrast between sky and moon. I am also waiting for what we call, a "harvest moon" where the moon becomes a huge ball just above the horizon at certain times of the year. Best to shoot RAW or jpeg?

And finally what about PP? What settings produce the best results i.e. contrast, cropping, sharpness, WB etc.

More advice?

Ron

er1kksen
01-15-2008, 09:01 AM
I suppose it really depends on what you mean by a moon shot: One of those photos where the moon fills the frame and you feel like you could run your fingers over the ridges of the craters? That would probably require a longish lens, and a tripod would be a good idea too. Just for fun, if you compose it right, you can include some of the landscape and make the moon look much larger in the sky than it really appears.

heavy wind lover
01-15-2008, 09:12 AM
Ron, for the moon I never had much success with any glass under 300mm on a camera,, tried many diferent combinations over the years with film and now digital and find my better photos are taken with a small scope,,

presently using a TV85 which is a 600mm APO,, I either use the scope in prime focus or in afocal mode shooting through an eyepiece (with a good method of attaching the camera) which allows closer detail,,

use a Manfrotto 3046 tripod with a 3063 head for my equipment, some form of remote or cable release is preferred but you can also use the cameras anti shake mode that allows the mirrow to raise for a few seconds (adjustable) prior shutter opening,,

as for speed I usually try for no less than 1/100 or above,, f stops vary depending on how the moon is shaped for the evening and the brightness offered,, usually you will want a terminator line across the moon which will offer shadows on various crators,, might even want to invest in a good moon map to help identify various locations and items,,

as for location in the sky, is your call,, have shot near the horizon for that fuller harvest moon appeareance but I like it near zenith with a terminator line the best,, just offers more detail,, have shot in the summer and the winter with equal results, just need a good clear still night,,

as for any later PP, again is up to the viewer,, can adjust some of the color out for more pure B&W or increase shadows and sharpen a tad,, would just recommend trying a few expermintal shots and adjust your test to either side for improvement,, it can be fun and with digital, instant results,,

the below photo was taken on a cool summer evening a few years past,,

take a look at this Sky & Telescope site for some normal photography without a long lens,,

http://www.skyandtelescope.com/observing/objects/projects/3308686.html

3dpan
01-15-2008, 06:59 PM
Ron,

I can't add much to hwl's advice.

A 500mm f/8 mirror lens will give you good pictures without costing an arm and a leg, (though I actually don't know what a TV85 would cost).

For post processing you can stick with just a bit of histogram stretching, or you can get more adventurous. eg coloring the moon, see this thread,

http://www.fourthirdsphoto.com/vbb/showthread.php?t=17022

Remember the moon is just a lump of rock illuminated by full sunlight so it's going to be a high contrast picture with a full range of exposure values.

Cheers,
Alec

Eleanor
01-16-2008, 05:46 PM
Andrzej Wrotniak has a very good tutorial on his site. He uses Olympus so it might be helpful to you
http://www.wrotniak.net/photo/moon/index.html

Rockin Ronnie
01-17-2008, 10:38 AM
Thanks Eleanor, Alec, Heavy Wind Lover and er1kksen, very helpful information. I am off to shoot the moon!

Ron

marcot64
01-22-2008, 09:10 PM
Some help.
I read the article and found it helpful, but I'm having noise problems.

Using E500 with 40-150mm lens, skylight 1A filter and tripod.
Tried at many shutter speeds and exposures. From f8 to f22 and speeds from 1/60 to 1/1250. Noise reduction on and off. Vibration on (2 sec) and off.
Various zooms from 100 to 150. At the end noise, noise and more noise!

There's something I'm missing. Can anyone offer any suggestions?

Thanks

heavy wind lover
01-23-2008, 08:31 AM
you did not mention what level the ISO was set,???

would not go above the 400 level on the E500,,

try it at the lowest and then move up one level at a time for a few more photos until you can see the noise,, then ya know the cameras limit,,

depending on the level of noise you can certainly adjust some in post processing,,

as your finding out it is not just a point and shoot process but when you find your cameras sweet spot, you will enjoy the results,,

Derry

marcot64
01-23-2008, 09:54 PM
you did not mention what level the ISO was set,???

would not go above the 400 level on the E500,,

try it at the lowest and then move up one level at a time for a few more photos until you can see the noise,, then ya know the cameras limit,,

depending on the level of noise you can certainly adjust some in post processing,,

as your finding out it is not just a point and shoot process but when you find your cameras sweet spot, you will enjoy the results,,

Derry

Apologies.
ISO was set at 100
I tried all combos of AP and SS
It's the dark that comes out so noisy, you'd think it was a 30 sec exposure at ISO 1600, the moon is clear enough but when I edit trying to pull out some surface detail the noise on the dark gets worse.
I've included the best one of about 40 shots total.
Settings: f16, 1/100, ISO 100, 150mm.
:dontknow:

3dpan
01-24-2008, 04:09 AM
marcot64,

Were you shooting Jpeg, Tiff or RAW ???

In my opinion you should only shoot RAW for astro pics.

In the meantime why don't you upload the original file, full size, to www.sendspace.com and then post the download link here so anyone who is interested can download the file and work on it. That way we should be able to replicate the problem you're describing.

There's not much point in posting a compressed Jpeg and expecting meaningful analysis.

Cheers,
Alec

3dpan
01-24-2008, 04:30 AM
marcot64,

In the meantime I copied the image you posted, cropped it, adjusted the contrast, and added a bit of sharpening.

This is what I got.

Is this the sort of thing you are trying to achieve ?

7457

Cheers,
Alec

gunnerx
01-24-2008, 06:13 AM
I did a simple test with the E3 the other day and confirmed the obvious. Do not stack Teleconverters when taking moon pictures. :) The extra glass definitely affects the image quality. Also, I think I need a larger tripod head with dials for fine tuning as my current ball head just doesn't cut it anymore with the E3.

Here's the details of the picture:

Olympus E3 + EC14 + Tamron 2x TC + Tamron SP500 Mirror lens 1/50s ISO200

Focal Length: 500mm x 2 x 1.4 = 1400mm
35mm equiv: 2800mm

The cool thing is that the moon doesn't fit fully in the E3's viewfinder. :) The bad thing is that it's just not that sharp.

http://www.gunnerx.com/pics/e3/P1220451.JPG

As a comparison, here is a picture I took with the E1 + 2xTC + SP500.

http://farm1.static.flickr.com/92/266091000_a0fb71c7c6_o.jpg

Once the moon is out again, I will do some more comparisons. Lens without any TCs, Lens with just the EC14 and with just the Tamron 2xtc.

marcot64
01-24-2008, 09:28 PM
marcot64,

In the meantime I copied the image you posted, cropped it, adjusted the contrast, and added a bit of sharpening.

This is what I got.

Is this the sort of thing you are trying to achieve ?

7457

Cheers,
Alec

That looks alot better than what I've been able to acvhieve. Did you use nr software?
The shots were all in RAW.
When I tried to sharpen the noise became worse.
I want to try PP again and see what I can do.
Really appreciate the help.

3dpan
01-25-2008, 01:13 AM
marcot,

I use Photoshop,
Open the RAW pic (and optional, save as a Tiff).

Crop so the moon is a reasonable size.

Image > Adjustments > Levels, will give you the histogram.

Slide the centre arrow to the right, this will reduce the contrast.

If necessary adjust blacks (LH arrow), and the whites (RH arrow) until they are both just clipping.

Sharpen as desired

That's all I did with your photo, no noise reduction at all.

Cheers,
Alec

cdreid
02-06-2008, 09:08 PM
In my limited experience a telecon hurts a lot. Of course i havent done many moon shots. The last shots with dual tcons make that pretty obvious.

Another thing to remember (whiich i forget a lot!) is to let your equipment temperature stabiliise so you dont have everything fogging up

Rockin Ronnie
02-20-2008, 03:33 PM
f14, 1/40s, 400mm, ISO100, slight crop, unsharp mask, tripod.

My first attempt. I realize that it could be a little sharper and I realize I should bring the shutter speed up a little.

Ron

gregmacg
02-20-2008, 04:04 PM
Ron,
Nice 1st attempt. What lens are you using? I shot a lot last year with a cheap 400mm lens and my pics were OK not Great. I'm going to try to get some of the lunar eclipse tonight with my 50-200mm or my 70-300mm.

Blu-by-u
02-20-2008, 08:10 PM
Not the best of moon shots but this is done with the SP550 not too long ago

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2326/2119707909_40a7b4f29d.jpg (http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2326/2119707909_40a7b4f29d_b.jpg)

These are shot a few nights ago with the E-330 and the 135-400.

Uncrop
http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2126/2276041158_073b08e409_m.jpg (http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2126/2276041158_073b08e409_b.jpg)

Same pic..cropped
http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2058/2276079594_fdde6296bf_m.jpg (http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2058/2276079594_fdde6296bf_b.jpg)

Rockin Ronnie
02-21-2008, 02:50 AM
Ron,
Nice 1st attempt. What lens are you using? I shot a lot last year with a cheap 400mm lens and my pics were OK not Great. I'm going to try to get some of the lunar eclipse tonight with my 50-200mm or my 70-300mm.

I used a Sigma 135-400 for this shot.

Ron

mhweather
02-21-2008, 02:13 PM
Plenty of good advice out there. For me (E3) tripod a must and remote cable to eliminate vibration. IS on NR on and I always shoot manual. F stop as low as possible to increase the shutter speed (remember moon is constantly moving, or we are, and very much noticeable on a good zoom lens) - for me this the key criteria.

Here is one I took with E3 & 90-250mm & 2.0 TC the other night. F5.6 (min with lens & TC) @1/200 ISO 100

http://www.mhweather.co.uk/_guest_/3677%20moon.jpg

Mark Humpage

3dpan
02-21-2008, 08:16 PM
Mark,

That looks like a very respectable image.

Though I suspect IS should not be ON for tripod mounted photos.

I was photographing stars with the E-3, 30 second exposures, on a tripod a few nights ago, and I kept hearing a whirring noise.
It turned out to be the IS system fighting against the rigidity of the tripod mount.
Turned IS off, and the whirring went away.

Cheers,
Alec

mhweather
02-22-2008, 07:06 AM
Mark,

That looks like a very respectable image.

Though I suspect IS should not be ON for tripod mounted photos.

I was photographing stars with the E-3, 30 second exposures, on a tripod a few nights ago, and I kept hearing a whirring noise.
It turned out to be the IS system fighting against the rigidity of the tripod mount.
Turned IS off, and the whirring went away.

Cheers,
Alec

An interesting point you raise as normally yes I would agree tripod shots do not require IS. However, the moon as a subject is moving. When you have an effective focal length of 1000mm it will run through a frame pretty quick and hence the use of IS. I shall play without the IS off and see how results compare (when the clouds go!)

M

heavy wind lover
02-22-2008, 08:08 AM
remember the IS is to help stabalize the camera movement while held, not subjects in front of the lens that are moving,, I have made many moon shots and always turn off the IS anytime I have the camera mounted on a tripod,,

Derry

Henk Peter
02-22-2008, 09:04 AM
When you have an effective focal length of 1000mm it will run through a frame pretty quick and hence the use of IS.

Derry is right, IS works only for camera/lens movement and is activated by sensors in the camera.:smile:

Kaiser Soze
02-24-2008, 06:14 PM
4 photos stacked in PS of the Lunar eclipse on 02-20-2008

1000mm F16

http://img144.imageshack.us/img144/572/02202008lunarie0.jpg

3dpan
02-24-2008, 06:34 PM
Wow, that is impressive.

Cheers,
Alec

olyinaz
02-24-2008, 10:39 PM
And a great job of framing as well.

Best,
Oly

Rockin Ronnie
02-29-2008, 06:39 PM
Great shot and excellent presentation!

Ron