Having been fascinated with the night skies and, in particular, the many wonderful and mesmerising phases of the moon, I have always wanted to know how to take those amazing close-up, detailed shots of the moon and thus try to capture its essence. So, as with anything, you do a bit of research, try a few settings out…and then realise that the best close-up, truly detailed images of the moon are taken using cameras attached to telescopes! I don’t have a telescope – yet.
So, the next best thing is your trusty DSLR on its own, with a decent zoom lens. Of course, my zoom lens isn’t even that decent. So, we make do. I have a Canon EOS 60D with a Canon 18-55 mm IS lens, and a Canon 75-300 mm III zoom lens. Not brilliant. When I can afford them, I’ll get better. Learning to use a camera doesn’t require expensive equipment. Right?
So, I did a little bit of digging to find out the ‘ideal’ settings for taking shots of the moon using my simple 300 mm zoom lens, and then experimented.
Naturally, at first you assume you need to add light to the image. Nope. You’re actually looking at a reflection of the sun, so you take the image in the same way that you would take an image in a sunny situation. Same settings. The ‘Sunny 16 rule ‘ works ok for taking shots of the moon, sometimes. However, after numerous attempts over the last year or so, I have come to the conclusion that a setting of f/11 1/125 ISO 100 gives me the best results.
With the recent August 10th 2014 “supermoon” event, it was another excuse to try and get a decent shot. The moon was 13% brighter and 30% closer to Earth on this day. I only took a few, in the end, as it was cold and I’m a wuss (it’s true – I hate the cold). I then pulled the image into an image editing application and simply adjusted the contrast, deepened the colour slightly, and increased sharpness. Here is the result.