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02-20-2011, 11:23 AM   #1
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long night time exposures blow out the moon.

long exposures at night have always been one of my favorites. catching all the light trails from cars and the city lights.

but i have always had a problem...blowing out the moon.

is there a way i can do an extended exposure at night, say 10-20 seconds without blowing the moon up?

would a filter possibly solve this? if so how would it effect the rest of my picture?

thanks in advance to any help

EDIT:the idea is to get nearly the same picture as before, but with a detailed moon vs. a white glob

02-20-2011, 12:01 PM   #2
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hmmm, I don't really know much about this, but a neutral density filter (I think that's the right name) that people use during the day to do longer exposures might help? Don't know how much light that you actually want will get filtered out though.

either that or shoot without the moon. I don't know if I've seen a long exposure night shot that had the moon in it (I've seen cars, words, stars, etc. but never a moon really).
02-20-2011, 12:07 PM   #3
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The moon is simply way too bright. You can expose properly on the full moon with surprisingly short shutter speeds. I would think if you were using a filter that would allow a clean 10-20" exposure on the moon, nothing else will show up, as it would be too dim. A simpler method may be to do some basic HDR, taking a short exposure for the scene to get the moon exposed properly, and then combining that exposure with a longer one for trails.
02-20-2011, 12:12 PM   #4
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You can combine shots to get what you want. Assuming your image software supports layers and masks you can shoot one exposure for the moon and the other for the scene.

Place the correctly exposed moon shot as the first layer and the correctly exposed scene as the second layer.

Mask the blown out moon and delete it, allowing the correctly exposed moon to show through. Or, I guess you could just erase the blown out moon. Either way would work.

I'm sure somebody will come along with a more elegant technique, but this will work.

02-20-2011, 12:20 PM   #5
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^ I'll second what bumjo has said: take two pictures of the same scene, one exposed for the moon, and one exposed for the rest of it.

Also: the moon moves pretty fast. Even when properly exposed it will still be blurry at slower shutter speeds.

For more info: How to Photograph the Moon – PictureCorrect
02-20-2011, 12:34 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by RXrenesis8 Quote
^ I'll second what bumjo has said: take two pictures of the same scene, one exposed for the moon, and one exposed for the rest of it.

Also: the moon moves pretty fast. Even when properly exposed it will still be blurry at slower shutter speeds.

For more info: How to Photograph the Moon PictureCorrect
The moon does move fast, giving it that oblong shape if one doesnt have a fast enough speed.

V5planet's suggestion of using hdr is interesting. the new photomatix v5 has a technique to circle a moving object, and the program then lets one choose which version of that object, out of 3 images, say, to keep without the ghosting effect. Don't know what hdr would do with star trails
02-20-2011, 12:45 PM   #7
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ill prolly just have to do the two layer idea and just delete the glob of moon out of one.

02-20-2011, 01:15 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by philbaum Quote
The moon does move fast, giving it that oblong shape if one doesnt have a fast enough speed.

V5planet's suggestion of using hdr is interesting. the new photomatix v5 has a technique to circle a moving object, and the program then lets one choose which version of that object, out of 3 images, say, to keep without the ghosting effect. Don't know what hdr would do with star trails
Ah well, I think I was not using the term 'HDR' in a rigorous sense, because I was referring to the two-layer masking solution with different exposure lengths. I meant simply that the dynamic range of the camera will be unlikely to capture detail in the moon and the dramatically dimmer remaining elements of the photo.
02-21-2011, 08:01 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by PaulfromTexas Quote
long exposures at night have always been one of my favorites. catching all the light trails from cars and the city lights.

but i have always had a problem...blowing out the moon.

is there a way i can do an extended exposure at night, say 10-20 seconds without blowing the moon up?

would a filter possibly solve this? if so how would it effect the rest of my picture?

thanks in advance to any help

EDIT:the idea is to get nearly the same picture as before, but with a detailed moon vs. a white glob
Expose the moon as if you were shooting in broad daylight - After-all, you can see the moon during the day.
02-21-2011, 08:20 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by PaulfromTexas Quote
would a filter possibly solve this? if so how would it effect the rest of my picture?
Sure, you could use a lot of ND filtering and take a super long shot like this:




This is (not my shot) a 13 minute exposure. Since the moon is so bright, the long exposure means that even with the filtering used, the bridge and environment is well exposed, the movement means that the moon exposes well.

Or, if you go the two pictures route:


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