Thursday, December 11, 2008
Notes on shooting the Moon
I took this photo (or rather, photos) of the Moon tonight with a Nikon D90. As you've no doubt noticed, the Moon is much brighter than anything else in the night sky, including clouds -- so much so that a photograph exposed for the clouds would just produce a featureless white blob for the Moon.
In fact, it would look like this -- the first photo I shot. Talk about blown-out highlights! That's why this is a Photoshop composite of two handheld images, shot one after the other, one exposed for the Moon, one for the clouds. I've read that the moon has the same brightness as a plowed field on a sunny day, so I manually exposed at ISO 800, f/8, 1/1600. The clouds were shot on Program, auto ISO -- which figured out to ISO 2500, f/5.6, 1/125. In addition, I put a lightly tinted fill layer over the background layer of the moon to try to match the clouds and also to cover up some of the imperfections of my Photoshop work. A sudden experimental impulse. I'm sure there are better ways to do this for people who know what they are doing. (Like this, for example.)