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03-19-2011, 10:16 AM   #1
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Taking Photos of the Moon?

The moon is supposedly gonna be the closer to the earth than its been in 18 years tonight, I've never taken pictures of the moon but if it's clear looks like tonight might be the night. Since I've never done this can anyone give pointers on taking nice moon shots?
I'm using a K-x and here's a list of the lenses I've got just to give an idea of what im working with

Sigma 70-300 1:4-5.6 DL Macro
Vivatar Series 1 28-90mm 2.8
Vivitar 28mm 2.8
Sears MC 135 2.8
Ricoh Rikennon 50mm 1.7
Pentax-DAL 50-200mm 1:4-5.6
Pentax-DA 18-55mm 1:3.5-5.6 AL II
Pentax-F Macro 35-70mm 1: 3.5-4.5
Pentax-F 35-80mm 1:4-5.6
Pentax-M 50mm 1.4

03-19-2011, 10:24 AM   #2
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Sigma 70-300 @ 300mm f8 is a way to go. Try to have shutter speed of 1/300 if your are not using tripod. Also, use spot mettering on Moon and AE-L if you are going to recompose.
03-19-2011, 10:30 AM   #3
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ill be using a tripod.
03-19-2011, 10:35 AM   #4
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I took this one this morning. It is about 1/3 of the actual full frame of the photo. It was taken with a DA*300 attached to an AF1.7x adapter (around 500mm).

In general, note that you are shooting reflected sunlight so meter accordingly. I find that smaller than f8 and whatever shutter speed that translates to works quite well. You do NOT want to boost the ISO except to get a good hand held shot. It is also not necessary to take long exposures and in fact, the shorter the better. You can look at a few of mine here and view the EXIFs for exposure information.

Which lens you use will depend on how you want to capture it. The moon is a moving target but it isn't so fast that you cannot experiment with it. I don't think any of the lenses are going to give a particularly impressive moon shot (moon only) so look for a scene with the moon in it that sets a mood you want to capture.

03-19-2011, 11:07 AM   #5
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You should try to take pictures when it is rising. The moon will look a lot bigger rising over something compared to by itself in the sky. Just use spot meter and center autofocus point, and then recompose and shoot. You can reduce shake by using a remote if you have one. Here's one I took last month using my K-x and DA-L 55-300mm lens:

It's cropped quite a bit.
Also one other thing if you shoot in raw you can adjust the white balance later and decide if you want it to be more yellow or white.
03-19-2011, 11:23 AM   #6
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The longer focal length of the Sigma 70-300 will produce a bigger moon for the sensor. However, I would advise against the 300 focal length. I'd use 200mm focal length and crop the picture afterward. Last time I tried at 300mm and 200mm I found the 200mm cropping gave better detail than at 300mm. but the good thing about Zoom lens are you can change the focal length on the spot.
03-19-2011, 11:42 AM   #7
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This one was shot with a Vivitar 400mm and a CPC 2X teleconverter, so 800 mm focal length. And it still didn't fill the frame, so be prepared to do some cropping for sure. And also make sure you use a tripod, turn OFF shake reduction, and use either a remote shutter release, or 2 second shutter delay to eliminate as much shake as possible.

03-19-2011, 12:46 PM   #8
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March 18th, Friday evening, imho it looked better earlier in the week.

03-19-2011, 12:57 PM   #9
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Pictures of the full moon without something else in the frame are dull. At least with a half or gibbous moon the craters have some shadows to bring them out.
03-19-2011, 07:05 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by boriscleto Quote
Pictures of the full moon without something else in the frame are dull. At least with a half or gibbous moon the craters have some shadows to bring them out.
Thats a matter of opinion and personal tastes. I applaud the full moon shots and the effort that went into them.
03-19-2011, 10:35 PM   #11
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Well, here is my boring full moon shot. Had fun making it though. Get this, Hand held at 1/30 sec ISO 100, braced against a big root. Sigma 70-200 v2 HSM with 1.4x Tele Converter at F9.5 on a D300s
03-20-2011, 12:00 AM   #12
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On my Flickr: how to photograph the moon
03-20-2011, 12:03 AM   #13
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Get a lens that's sharp stopped down 1-1.5 stops, and make sure you're using a fast shutter speed.

I've had my best results at around 1/500-1/1000s @F4.5 with the 300mm/2.8 Pentax. Might be feasible to use it with a 2x TC at higher ISO and at F8 to get similar results.

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