full moon

THE FULL MOON was sitting temptingly over the wood but at first I couldn’t get the settings right to photograph it with the 30x zoom on my new camera.

moon and cloudsFaced with so much dark sky the camera’s natural inclination is to go for an average exposure, making moonlit clouds visible but in the process making the moon look as bright as the sun. The camera went for a 5 second exposure so, even though I had it on a small tripod on my desk, there’s a lot of camera shake.

Manual Setting

Detail of the crater Tycho, 1/800th second exposure

I set the mode dial, which so far has almost always been on ‘SR AUTO’ (scene recognition), to M for manual and went for the shortest exposure that I could select, 1/800th of a second.

I’m going to have to try again because this is underexposed but at least by tweaking the tonal levels in Photoshop I can bring out some of the details.

Camera Shake

Same image after adjusting the levels in Photoshop.
Same image after adjusting the levels in Photoshop.

To eliminate camera shake I set the auto timer to 2 seconds so that the camera had time to settle after the slight movement caused by my finger pressing the shutter button.

If I’d been drawing this full moon from memory I would have made it slightly yellowish but the camera’s auto white balance has shown it as almost pure grayscale, which is much nearer to its true, almost monochromatic, colours.

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  1. Thank you for this interesting blog. I accidentally took the same picture of the moon. Mine is less detailed for I didn’t use a tripod, but you’re blog inspired me to experiment in Photoshop. I now notice Tycho on my photo too.
    I am also experimenting with flowing water from the tap in different manual settings. It is complex matter but so much fun to do.

    1. I’m looking forward to my next attempt at the moon, wondering if I can get a sharper image by decreasing the aperture to something like f22. Running water sounds like quite a challenge. I’m going to have to try a long exposure for moving water some day – 10 or 15 seconds to get the milky, misty effect that some photographers go for for waterfalls and surf.

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