Rodney Campbell's Blog

By the Light of the Moon…

by on Jun.27, 2010, under Life, Photography

Last night I noticed that we had a very full moon in the sky and what I had initially noticed was that the clouds on the horizon as seen from my window were very lit up (by the strong moonlight) even to the naked eye. I looked up and saw the moon above in full glory so decided to grab the camera and tripod and take a few shots.

This time I took my sharpest longish lens (my Tamron 90mm f/2.8) and setup my Nikon D90 on the Manfrotto tripod at the window and started taking some shots.

I took my first test shot in Aperture priority mode (1/4 sec @ f/4.0, ISO 200) – however since my camera was still in Matrix Metering mode the moon was massively overexposed with a huge halo around it so all I ended up with was a large blurry white fireball to burn out my retinas – plus the moon appears to move fairly quickly across the sky (you only notice this when you’re pointing a zoomed camera at the moon on a tripod and notice that it moves between shots and you have to reframe) so even at 1/4 sec I expect we’ll see the movement.

OK brain kicked into gear – of course with a smallish bright object surrounded with dark black the camera was going to try and average the scene brightness to get the exposure.

I then set my camera to Spot Metering and again focused on the moon and took the shot (1/200 sec @ f/4.0 and 1/25 sec @ f/11) – better but it’s still just a solid white ball – at least the edges look sharp now.

OK time for some exposure compensation. I started at first with -2EV (1/100 sec @ f/11) and then the following at -3EV (1/250 sec @ f/11):

1/250 sec at f/11, ISO 200, 90mm

and then finally -4EV (1/500 sec @ f/11 and 1/3200 sec @ f/4):

1/500 sec at f/11, ISO 200, 90mm


1/3200 sec at f/4, ISO 200, 90mm

I havn’t post processed any of the above images other than to crop them – I’m pretty happy with how they turned out given it was my first attempt at shooting the moon.

Oh and that skyline with the cool looking clouds lit by the moonlight that drew me to this in the first place 🙂 – this is the view looking across at Chatswood city and this shot from memory pretty much approximates how it looked to the naked eye:

2.5 sec at f/4, ISO 200, 90mm

and finally – playing with a bit of Bokeh – I manually focused my lens and purposely moved it a fair bit out of focus whilst pointing at the lights of Chatswood in the distance to see what I’d get and…

1 sec at f/3.2, ISO 200, 90mm

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1 Comment for this entry

  • Bob and Hiroe

    Good ones Rodney, The moon was shining in our bedroom window last night – must be why we are so tired today.

    Mum and Dad

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