Rodney Campbell's Blog

Moon Rising over Opera House…

by on Jan.20, 2014, under Life, Photography

A last minute meet up organised by our resident optical physicist Ana Andres 🙂 who decided we should shoot the moonrise which would coincidentally appear just after sunset over the sails of our iconic Sydney Opera House

I came with my Sigma 50-500 for this (I don’t normally use this lens because it’s a beast and I can only be bothered dealing with the size and weight when I know I’m positively going to use it :)). I wanted to compress the moon and the sails so it wasn’t just going to be an insignificant white dot in the sky and thus wanted as long a focal length as I could bring

Note: These photographs (especially the wider shots) look much better when larger – so click any of the images below to see larger versions in an inline overlay slideshow gallery viewer.

Teaching Point: Shooting the moon can be tricky – mostly because it is a lot brighter than you might think (it makes sense of course since it’s basically just a giant reflector in the sky reflecting back the sun). It’s hard to get a single frame exposed where both the moon is exposed nicely with no blown highlights and the sky and ambient scene isn’t just black. Your best chance is to shoot at times like these where there is still quite a lot of light in the sky from the sun (just after sunset) – you’ll still need to use exposure compensation depending on how much of the frame the moon takes up

A single -2EV shot with enough ambient light left 10 minutes after sunset



NIKON D600 + 50.0-500.0 mm f/4.5-6.3 @ 380 mm, 1/6 sec at f/10, ISO 100

Now a -3EV single shot

Lunar Landing

Lunar Landing

NIKON D600 + 50.0-500.0 mm f/4.5-6.3 @ 500 mm, 1/10 sec at f/10, ISO 100

as it got darker I started bracketing shots because whilst the ambient environment was getting much darker as the remaining sunlight from twilight dropped the brightness of the moon was staying the same (or even getting a touch brighter as it rose in the sky)

The following is a blend of two shots – a -3 and 1/3rd EV for the ambient and -6 and 1/3rd for the moon – twenty minutes after sunset

Lunar Opera

Lunar Opera

NIKON D600 + 50.0-500.0 mm f/4.5-6.3 @ 340 mm, 1.60 sec at f/11, ISO 100

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