HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Topics » Arts & Humanities » Photography (Group) » Moon shots
Introducing Discussionist: A new forum by the creators of DU

Tue Dec 25, 2012, 08:10 PM

Moon shots

My roommate loves moon photos, so I take them as often as I can. One day I'll get the perfect moon shot.

Anyway, this one has Jupiter in it.



This doesn't have Jupiter in it.



These were taken with my Nikon using a Tamron AF 70-300mm f/4.0-5.6 SP Di VC USD.

26 replies, 2090 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 26 replies Author Time Post
Reply Moon shots (Original post)
justiceischeap Dec 2012 OP
Adsos Letter Dec 2012 #1
justiceischeap Dec 2012 #2
Adsos Letter Dec 2012 #3
justiceischeap Dec 2012 #6
Blue_In_AK Dec 2012 #4
ManiacJoe Dec 2012 #7
justiceischeap Dec 2012 #8
rdking647 Dec 2012 #10
justiceischeap Dec 2012 #11
rdking647 Dec 2012 #12
rdking647 Dec 2012 #5
Blue_In_AK Dec 2012 #15
rdking647 Dec 2012 #9
Solly Mack Dec 2012 #13
Major Nikon Dec 2012 #14
justiceischeap Dec 2012 #16
Major Nikon Dec 2012 #17
justiceischeap Dec 2012 #18
rdking647 Dec 2012 #19
Major Nikon Dec 2012 #20
rdking647 Dec 2012 #21
Major Nikon Dec 2012 #22
justiceischeap Dec 2012 #23
rdking647 Dec 2012 #25
rdking647 Dec 2012 #24
Major Nikon Dec 2012 #26

Response to justiceischeap (Original post)

Tue Dec 25, 2012, 09:21 PM

1. Beautiful shots!

My monitor displays a hint of color in those. Is that natural?

Anyway, really nice moon shots.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Adsos Letter (Reply #1)

Tue Dec 25, 2012, 09:38 PM

2. No, I ran them through Photoshop

after Lightroom. There wasn't much contrast in the photos so I thought I'd add a wee bit of color instead.

BTW, thanks! I'm still figuring out camera settings and such and one of these days I'm gonna get the right aperture and shutter speed together at once and get a spectacular moon photo.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to justiceischeap (Reply #2)

Tue Dec 25, 2012, 09:44 PM

3. I think those are already pretty spectacular.

If I remember right you have the Nikon D5100, no? So do I, and I'm trying to do more on manual settings too.

Question for you:

I have Lightroom4, and I've considered purchasing Photoshop 6 for the greater versatility. Which versions of Photoshop and Lightroom do you use? Do you think the cost of Photoshop 6 is worth the advantages over Lightroom?

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Adsos Letter (Reply #3)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 05:09 AM

6. I'm a huge fan of Photoshop but...

I'm a web designer/developer and have been using it for years, so I'm super comfortable with it (and have to have it). I have the latest versions of both softwares.

I've only just started using Lightroom, but from what I've seen they both have their advantages. I find that I "tune" my images in Lightroom and then take them into PS for anything else. For example, I colored the moon in Photoshop using two separate gradient layers--one blue (at the top), one yellow (at the bottom)--you can't do that in Lightroom (that I'm aware of). What I've found is that Lightroom is good for organization, plus the learning curve is, to me, a lot lower than Photoshop. I think a lot of Photographers that don't want to lay out the cost for Photoshop use Elements, so that's something you may want to consider.

And yes, I have the D5100.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to justiceischeap (Original post)

Tue Dec 25, 2012, 10:25 PM

4. I have a hard time with moon shots blowing out.

What settings did you use?

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Blue_In_AK (Reply #4)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 05:25 AM

7. The moon is in direct sunlight, so you need to use daytime exposures.

Similar to the "sunny 16" guide for daytime (f/16, shutter speed = 1/ISO),
there is a "lunar 11" guide (f/11, shutter speed = 1/ISO).
It is not exact, but it is a good place to start.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Blue_In_AK (Reply #4)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 05:26 AM

8. Let me look at the EXIF, here...

The Jupiter photo was actually fairly bright but it had to be I guess to get Jupiter in the shot. I was able to bring down those whites in Lightroom.

Before edits


I took about 30 photos and was happy I got one decent one, let alone two. When shooting the moon, I always use my tripod and remote; I've tried hand-holding and you can get some okay shots, but it's less stressful using the tripod and gives me more opportunity to mess about with exposure settings without worrying about losing focus (which I do manually).

Jupiter Photo settings:

Manual mode with WB set at daylight
Format: RAW
Exposure: 1/4 sec at f/16
Focal length: 300mm
ISO: 100

Moon solo (this one was fairly underexposed originally):

Format: RAW
Manual mode with WB set at daylight
Exposure: 1/5 sec at f/16
Focal length: 300mm
ISO: 100

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to justiceischeap (Reply #8)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 10:07 AM

10. try a much shorter exposure for an almost full moon

id try iso 500 f8 1/1000 as a starting point and work around that

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to rdking647 (Reply #10)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 10:22 AM

11. Thanks for the tip

I stood outside trying all kinds of exposures last night along with shutter speeds and this is the best I got. I don't know if it's because I don't have a true dark sky where I live or what.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to justiceischeap (Reply #11)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 10:34 AM

12. i dont have dark skies either

i live in the city.
ive also found that i have to uses manual exposure since the auto exposure (even spot mode) over exposes the moon. I also have to use the self timer set for 10 seconds rather than just using a remote release.
the biggest problem with the moon is the correct exposure changes every night. for a full moon i tend to use f16 and a shutter spped if 1/2x iso. (for a start) i tend to shoot 1 full stop around that.

for a thin crescent i just have to guess. i tend to shoot at least 30 different shots and pick the best.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to justiceischeap (Original post)

Tue Dec 25, 2012, 11:20 PM

5. moon shot exposures

Last edited Wed Dec 26, 2012, 10:56 AM - Edit history (1)

ive found that with moon shots you have to under expose. whatever teh camera says the exposure should be under expose by about a stop.
I was hoping it was clear tonight. i was going to try merging 3 exposures.
1 with the moon properly exposed,i with jupiter properly exposed and one with the 4 moons of jupiter. alas it clouded over ans got downright cold. (its 33 right now here in central texas. brrrr)

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to rdking647 (Reply #5)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 01:11 PM

15. 33?

Heat wave. . We've had such a cold winter that when it warmed up to 25 yesterday it felt positively balmy. It was nice to get some snow...it's only about the third time this season.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to justiceischeap (Original post)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 09:35 AM

9. success

got up at 3 am . it had cleared up.

DSC_4925 by rdking647, on Flickr


its 3 shots combined i took a number of shots in the same place,varying the exposure.
then i took 3 into photo shop
#1 had the moon properly exposed iso 500 f8 1/1000
#2 had jupiter exposed properly but the moons werent visible iso 500 1/25 f8
#3 had jupiters moons exposed properly but jupiter was ovre exposed iso 2000 f8 1/2 sec

then i used photoshop to paste merge the properly exposed parts of the 3 shots together

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to justiceischeap (Original post)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 10:51 AM

13. Nice!

I suck at moon shots.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to justiceischeap (Original post)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 12:47 PM

14. If you want to get the perfect moon shot, the way to do it is with a telescope

Even a relatively cheap telescope will take better moon photos than most telephoto lenses designed for earth photography.

The reason is because standard photography lenses are designed to deal with the optical aberrations that we encounter with terrestrial photography. They also aren't designed for optimum focusing towards infinity. Telescopes are designed just the opposite way. They are designed to deal with aberrations encountered while observing heavenly bodies and they are designed to focus on distant objects.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Major Nikon (Reply #14)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 01:22 PM

16. I was afraid of that so I'll have to keep searching for a while

Maybe next Christmas I'll get a telescope. Any recommendations and advice on what's needed (besides the telescope)?

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to justiceischeap (Reply #16)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 01:44 PM

17. I wish I did

Other than a healthy respect for the science and hobby that is astronomy, I just don't have that much practical knowledge regarding the tools involved. Much of it depends on the type of astrophotography that you want to do. The challenge of photographing near earth objects is somewhat different than photographing deep space objects. From what I've discovered so far, the mount you choose appears to be more important than the telescope itself. I have been toying around with the idea of getting into astrophotography for some time, but the challenges and expenses involved are, pardon the pun, astronomical. Since I'm already heavily invested both in time and expense with terrestrial photography, it's just something I'm not prepared to take on right now. I think if you did want to get into it, the best way to start would be to join a local astronomy club and participate in star parties. That crowd is generally made up of some really good folks who have all sorts of knowledge and equipment they can share. It's something I've been meaning to do, but just haven't.

There are some things you can do to get decent results from photography equipment and lenses, but you just will never get the "perfect" moon shot with it. Here's my best effort so far. I took it with a Nikon 70-200/2.8 lens and two 2x teleconverters stacked and spent quite a bit of time playing with it in post processing. It pretty much breaks all the rules, but somehow I just got lucky. It's not nearly as good as I'd like.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Major Nikon (Reply #17)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 03:14 PM

18. Can teleconverters be used on the d5100?

I thought I'd read that they can't be used.

That's a very nice shot BTW. I like the clarity.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to justiceischeap (Reply #18)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 03:57 PM

19. its more a matter of the lens than the camera

a lot of cameras wont auto focus if the widest aperture is smaller than f5.6 or 8. in that case you have to manual focus.
if the lens will fit on the teleconverter (not all will fit on all teleconverters) then you can use it with your d5100 in maunal focus if nothing else.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to justiceischeap (Reply #18)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 03:58 PM

20. They can

With any teleconverter(just like any lens) you have to check to see what, if any capabilities you will lose when you use that teleconverter and if it will mount on the camera and lens you are using. For instance, with some of the older Nikon teleconverters, you will lose autofocus functionality and you may even lose metering, but the teleconverter may (and probably will in most instances) mount on a D5100 and double your effective focal length. Some aftermarket teleconverters will translate most, if not all lens functionality to the D5100. Some Nikon teleconverters will only mount with some lenses, both because of designed bayonet limitations and because the front TC element contacts the rear element of some lenses when you try to mount them.

So it all depends on which TC that is used with which lens on what camera. The D5100 doesn't have an internal focusing motor like some of the other Nikon bodies. So that's why you lose autofocus with certain lenses and TCs. If the lens or TC doesn't have a chip, you'll also lose metering capability with the D5100. Those are the two biggest compatibility problems you run into with the D5100 and this mostly happens when using older lenses or TCs. The D7000 is one of the Nikon bodies I use and it has an internal focusing motor and the capability of metering with non-chipped lenses. So in certain instances the capability of using older lenses is enhanced.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Major Nikon (Reply #17)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 04:00 PM

21. ive found a telescope isnt necessary for the moon

unless you are trying to get a shot of a small portion of teh surface. for a whole moon shot a big enough telephot is fine. I have the sigma 150-500 and it works well. the biggest hinderances come from atmosphere distortion (you are after all shooting though miles of turbulent air) and wind which can shake the lens.
I find the best shots come on cold calm nights when the moon is high in the sky.


Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to rdking647 (Reply #21)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 04:08 PM

22. The biggest problem I've encountered is trying to get the focus just right

It's easy to get it close, but getting it perfect is somewhat more difficult. Photography lenses with ED elements aren't bad for astrophotography, but I've seen some stuff done with real telescopes and it just blows away anything I've been able to do.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Major Nikon (Reply #22)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 04:30 PM

23. Like this (Caution, it's huge)



There is definite detail and clarity there. Maybe rdking647 can get close to that cause he has a 500mm zoom but unless I use a teleconverter, I'm never getting close to that. And don't teleconverters tend to lose some clarity at their longest distance like most low-cost zooms?

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to justiceischeap (Reply #23)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 05:00 PM

25. yes they do lose clarity

heres an example of the full moon
1/1000 f9 iso 400 500 mm lens

full moon by rdking647, on Flickr

and heres a 1/2 moon
450m f11 1/500 iso 1250
contrast enhanced in color efex 4


DSC_0045 by rdking647, on Flickr


Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Major Nikon (Reply #22)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 04:54 PM

24. what ive found works a lot of times is using live view

use that and magnify it a couple of times to get the focus just right. Use an aperture of at least f8. and then (most important IMHO) is use a remote shutter release and the self timer. you want the camera to dampen any vibrations before opening the shutter.
sometimes mirror lock up also works.
its either that or spend a couple of k on a scope and im not willing to do that

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to rdking647 (Reply #24)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 05:05 PM

26. Live view is what I used to get the shot I posted

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Reply to this thread