How to Take a Photo of the Moon (Well, At Least This Is How I Did It)

I did a bit of experimentation in photographing the moon last night with my Sony NEX-5 camera.  It was a full moon, no clouds, and it was screaming to be photographed.  I had to oblige.

First thing I did was get out my tripod, since I know that I would have to have a steady shot.  I also knew I would be doing a lot of experimenting, and that my arm would start aching in a mad way if I didn’t have something to hold the camera up for me.

I attached my 55-210 zoom lens, and put the camera in MANUAL mode.  I started fiddling around with the shutterspeed and F-stop .  I always get those mixed up.  I need to figure out a way to memorize them. Maybe I can say that the shutterspeed is like a car — you don’t want the car to look blurry and you want the camera to take the photo really fast.  So, the faster you go, the larger the numbers on the camera “speedometer” need to read…but then, that is only if you are below 1 second (1/25 sec, 1/30 sec, 1/50 sec, 1/100 sec, etc.)  But, that works o.k. for me.  I just have to remember that it’s how long the shutter stays open.  And THEN I could say that the Fstop is the aperture –and if I combine those words I come up with:   FAPERTURE.  This is also the depth of FIELD — and the HIGHER/FULLER the FAPERTURE, the FULLER the FOCUS is.  I don’t know.  Maybe that will help me, and maybe it won’t.  Maybe someone can provide me with an easier word picture so that I can remember.

Oh, and then you have the ISO — and I don’t know what this means.  I DO know, though, that the LOWER the number, the LOWER the sensitivity to LIGHT — to be adjusted LOWER when you want LOWER light.  I just have to memorize that the HIGHER numbers create HIGHER fuzz.  So, being HIGH is not a good thing.

Anyway, with that being said, I took lots of photos of the moon last night and determined that the best photo was taken with a shutterspeed of 1/320, an F-stop (aperture) of 7.1, and an ISO of 200.  You would think I would need a higher ISO to let more light in, but those ones turned out too fuzzy for MY eyes.   I could probably do better, but didn’t want to spend my whole night experimenting.  Maybe I’ll try again tonight.

Then, I did a bit of post-production with Picasa…I just enhanced the shadows and cropped it to take away most of the background, because there was a lot of it.  And, voila!  Here is my moon photo:

Full Moon photo

I really like how “sparkly” it is…

If anyone else has a better “moon plan”, let me know!  I’d like to do it all with the camera, (without post production) so I’ll keep working on it!



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