March 18, 2011

Shoot for the Moon!

Alright, readers...now's the time to get ready to get your "capturing the coolness" freakness on....Tomorrow night's full moon will be a super duper "perigee moon".  According to CNN US, the biggest in almost 20 years.

According to the NASA website, the moon will  14% bigger and 30% brighter.  Another interesting phenomenon is that a full moon low hanging in the sky looks bigger when shot with a foreground object or between two foreground objects...such as between buildings or beaming through trees.  It's a phenomenon because even astronomers and psychologists cannot account for the effect..hmmm.


So I wonder if the moon is going to be 30% brighter if one should underexpose 1/3 of a stop from the standard formula for moon shots..

Here are some links and fyi on shooting the moon:

  • Use a tripod and cable release (if you don't have a cable release, try using a 3-5 sec timer setting..it's too easy to shake the camera when attempting to press the shutter release manually.  If you can, like with live view, shoot with the mirror up to avoid mirror slap vibration.

  • Use this Moonrise Calculator to check times of moon rise in your area so you can give yourself enough setup time.

  • Find a good foreground object with which to shoot the moon...google "moon illusion" for more information or visit this NASA page for information on the subject from June 16, 2008.  I'm going to try and use a windmill that's at the horse stables here.

  • Keep it manual!  Turn of auto iso, auto focus and don't shoot in any priority mode..here's the formula I have found many others talking about...Shutter Speed=1/ISO and aperture at f/11.  So, for example, if you are shooting at ISO 200 (base for my Nikon D300), then I would set aperture to f/11 and shutter speed at 1/200 second.

  • Bracket....based on the formula above, bracket shots to the left and right of this...in other words, underexpose a few frames in 1/3 steps and then overexpose a few frames in 1/3 steps.

  • Shoot RAW so you can adjust white balance later if needed.

  • Manually focus.  Some say to manually focus your lens to infinity and then back off a little.  Or you can just eyeball it using live view if you have it.

Does anyone else have anything to add or tricks they have used?  Be sure to share with us your results on Sunday or Monday...should be nice to see.

Later,

Mike