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Old Dec 29, 2004, 12:57 PM   #1
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We recently had a beautiful full moon on a clear night. Using my D70/Sigma 70-300, I took a number of shots both in JPEG/fine and raw modes, trying to capture the details and shadings of the moon. Unfortunately, when I got home and downloaded the pictures to my computer, they were all the same -- a bright white dot with no distinguishable features, surrounded by complete darkness. No amount of postprocessing could salvage any detail.

Obviously, I have not set the camera up properly for the picture. What settings should I have used? Should I be using any sort of filter? Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks,

Randy
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Old Dec 29, 2004, 2:26 PM   #2
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Randy,

Your shot is overexposed... too much light. Try this:

First, use a tripod. Try using the spot metering so that the dark sky won't cause overexposure. Check your shot for blown highlights by using the info displayed in the preview that appears right after the photo is taken (page 116 in the D70 manual) if it shows blown highlights (flashing areas), try again with a lower exposure (less time or smaller aperture or both). Bracket your exposures... film is cheap;>).

Here is the moon in late afternoon. (with EXIF)

Make - NIKON CORPORATION
Model - NIKON D70
Orientation - Top left
XResolution - 300
YResolution - 300
ResolutionUnit - Inch
Software - Nikon Capture Editor 4.1.3 W
DateTime - 2004:11:20 18:27:43
YCbCrPositioning - Co-Sited
ExifOffset - 228
ExposureTime - 1/20 seconds
FNumber - 22
ExposureProgram - Aperture priority
ExifVersion - 0220
DateTimeOriginal - 2004:11:20 16:08:45
DateTimeDigitized - 2004:11:20 16:08:45
ComponentsConfiguration - YCbCr
ExposureBiasValue - 0.33
MaxApertureValue - F 5.66
MeteringMode - Multi-segment
LightSource - Auto
Flash - Not fired
FocalLength - 300 mm
UserComment -
SubsecTime - 12336
SubsecTimeOriginal - 12336
SubsecTimeDigitized - 12336
FlashPixVersion - 0100
ColorSpace - sRGB
ExifImageWidth - 480
ExifImageHeight - 639
SensingMethod - One-chip color area sensor
FileSource - DSC - Digital still camera
SceneType - A directly photographed image
Maker Note (Vendor): -
Data version - 0020 (808464944)
ISO Setting - 0
Image Quality - RAW
White Balance - AUTO
Image Sharpening - AUTO
Focus Mode - AF-S
White Balance Adjustment - 0
White Balance RB - 544
Exposure Adjustment - 786688
ISO 2 - 13107200
Tone Compensation - AUTO
Lens type - AF-D G
Lens - 594
Flash Used - Not fired
AF Focus Position - 16777216
Bracketing - 128
Light Type - NATURAL
Hue Adjustment - 0
Noise Reduction - OFF
Total pictures - 376
Optimization - NORMAL
Editor version - Nikon Capture Editor 4.1.3ASC


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Old Dec 29, 2004, 2:35 PM   #3
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Randy,

I should add.....

You will see from the EXIF that I used matrix metering, however, I believe that spot would work better. In my shot I used a -7 exposure compensation. I took about 20 shots and this was the best. Some were almost as good and some were unusable. A good rule of thumb for moonshots is to take abunch to get a few good ones.

Bill
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Old Dec 29, 2004, 3:28 PM   #4
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RandyS wrote:
Quote:
Obviously, I have not set the camera up properly for the picture. What settings should I have used? Should I be using any sort of filter? Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks,

Randy

People make the mistake of taking a moon picture as if it were a night time long exposure. The moon is brightly lit by sunlight, it's like taking a daytime picture. Shoot in manual mode, start at 1/125 F8 @ ISO 100. Bracket your exposures, take several and then trya different aperture value. Do not use an Auto Exposure mode unless you have set the metering to Spot and have the moonfilling the center of the frame. The surrounding darkness will "trick" the metering in matrix orcenter-weightedmodes and you'll get an overexposure. If anything you want a shot that is about one to two stops underexposed to hold the lunar detail.
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Old Dec 29, 2004, 4:10 PM   #5
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Thanks for all of the suggestions. I cna't wait to give them a try.
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Old Dec 30, 2004, 6:11 AM   #6
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LOL - I had the same problem. I want to F22 and 1/16 after my attempts were white balls. I forgot the moon is pretty bright.

Got some good shots but not as clear as I was hoping. Used 70-300G also. I'll try again next month with a faster shutter and hopefully less blur!
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Old Dec 30, 2004, 9:13 AM   #7
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Grinder,

I've had a number of suggestions (accompanied by stunning examples) that shooting the moon while it is in phase (rather than full) produces more interesting shots -- better shadows and contrasts.

I intend to give this a try -- and this won't require waiting a month.

Good luck!
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Old Dec 30, 2004, 12:24 PM   #8
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So true!!! I was letting the dog out and saw the moon - rushed into the house - got the tripod and got set up - then noticed IT'S FREEZING OUT HERE!!

Took 5 white blob shots and kept lowing the exposure.

Actually CLOUDS and moon are nice but here in Wisconsin since I've gottin my camera it's been clouds OR moon - 90% clouds actually.

Wisconsin has bee the perfect metering state - everything is 18% gray. no snow, just gray clouds and salty roads.
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Old Dec 30, 2004, 1:24 PM   #9
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Randy and Grinder,

Here's a link to some lunar inspiration. most of the images in his gallery have EXIF info to learn from.

http://www.pbase.com/nrothschild/phases_moon

Bill
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Old Dec 31, 2004, 5:11 PM   #10
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Listen, the moon is lit directly by the sun - so just expose like you would for a sunlit scene, which is to say Sunny-16.
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