Moon Photography - Settings and Examples


Photographing the moon can be really difficult. It doesn't look like it but the moon is very bright and this makes for a pretty tough shot. Photographing the moon as it rises add another level of difficultly because in two minutes the moon moves its height in the horizon, so this rules out long exposure in many cases. After many attempts and plenty of research and trial and error I have finally found a happy place with moon photography.

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super moon dc

Here are the most important things to remember.

-Preparation is very important. Find a great sun and moon app and plan out your location ahead of time, then give yourself plenty of time to be in position. 

-Spot meter and selective focus right on the moon. This is the best way to capture the most details of the moon.

-Don't be afraid to bracket so that you can get detail in the scene as well as the moon. If you choose to bracket, during the early stages of a moonrise do so quickly and with fast shutter speeds.

-Open up your aperture. Using a low F-stop allows you to capture more of the scene and foreground of your image without having to bracket. Don't forget to spot meter to the moon.

-The best time to photograph the moonrise is when the moon rises within an hour of sunset. During this timeframe try to keep your shots under 1 second. The moon moves so quickly during it's rise that anything longer you will see lots of motion and complete loss of moon details. 

-If you are photographing the moon as it rises into a pitch black sky you can use long exposure to photography a moonscape complete with stars depending on weather.

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-If you are photographing the moon without any foreground your shutter speed should be double your focal length. So for example the moon shot at 200mm should have a shutter speed of 1/400. Open your aperture as wide as you can and then set your ISO appropriately, start low and then work your way up. an ISO of 400 always seems to be best for me using this moon photography formula. Be sure to spot meter and focus to the moon for the best results. 

Jennifer Casey2 Comments