Saturday, May 25, 2013

Shoot the moon

Normally when you photograph the moon at night and try to include the ambient clouds you need to do it in two exposures because the moon is so much brighter than most of us realize that it overexposes itself into a white circle. I took two exposures when shooting the image below but wound up only using the exposure for the clouds.  The reason is that the clouds passing over the moon added detail to the blank white circle of the moon so that I didn't need to burn in the moon detail by using a second exposure for just the moon.

There was a beautiful moon last night made eerie by the passing clouds. The longest lens I had with me is the Nikon 70-200mm zoom plus a 1.4x converter. After switching the Nikon D800 into its 1.2x crop mode I was able to gain enough of a long focal length to pull off this shot. At the time I also did not have a tripod with me so I resorted to boosting the ISO to 1600 and hand held the camera for an exposure of f/5.6 and 1/100 second.
After I returned home I was able to post-process the image the way I originally intended it to be, as a combination of two exposures, one for the sky and one for detail in the moon. There is a 5-stop difference between the photo of just the moon and the photo that recorded the clouds.

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