Photographing The Moon

Quick Tips For Photographing the Moon

By Rodney L. Craig

Tonight was not just a regular full moon. It was a super moon, meaning the moon was about 14% bigger and 30% brighter because its elliptical orbit brought the moon about 31,000 miles closer to the earth.

With all the hoopla, I decided to drag out my Nikon D3s, 600mm, f4.0 telephoto lens and the tripod to try my luck at lunar photography. The weather and clouds were cooperative. There was just a little atmospheric haze in suburban Houston, Texas.

The setup is pretty simple:

The tripod is a must for this type of photography

Set the camera to manual

Shoot RAW files for maximum post processing flexibility

White balance set to sunny

Use the lowest possible ISO

Start with an aperture of f/11

Use a shutter speed of 1/ISO. I used an ISO of 200. Thus my shutter speed was 1/200 of a second

If your camera has a mirror lock function, use it to minimize vibration and maximize sharpness. I also recommend using a cable release or self-timer to avoid photographer induced shake. Focus carefully and enjoy. Photographing the moon is really pretty simple.

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