May 22, 2024

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Shooting the Moon

I’m not a professional photographer by any means but I do love to dabble in it. The past few days I’ve been trying to get a decent moon shot rising on the horizon, without much success I might add.  I did Google the how to’s of it and most of the sites I visited just got a little to technical for my tastes…… actually it’s not my tastes it’s more my attention. As soon as something starts getting  to in depth in the instructions I’m lost. I’ve never had the patience to listen to technical explanations, just tell me how to do it and that’s all I want to know.  That said without further ado here is how to get a shot like this.  (Note: I’m using a Cannon Rebel T3)

  • Set your camera to manual which is on the selection dial and represented by an “M”
  • Select an ISO of 100 (ISO is the speed of your film, 100 speed, 200 speed etc.)
  • Dial your shutter speed to read 1/100
  • Set your F stop to read f/11 ( to select an F stop press and hold the AV button and spin the selection dial to go up or down the F stop menu
  • You should be using at least a 300mm lens to bring the moon in closer.
  • A tripod is highly recommended and use your timer to take the image.

You may need to go up or down in F stops to get the best image but you should stay within the range of f/8 to f/11.  Shoot a few images at each F stop to be sure. You may also increase and decrease your shutter speeds and take a few images as well….. this is called “Bracketing” your shot. While you may capture a good image at  a shutter speed of 1/100th it may be even better at 1/160th.  Now without getting you to confused you can also select an ISO of 200 and a shutter speed of 1/200 keeping your F stop again between f/8 and f/11, adjust speeds and stops up or down as needed.  Again bracket your shots by shooting more images to be sure you capture the best shot, you can’t take enough pictures and the cost is zero with digital images. I’ve dialed my shutter speed all the way down to 1/60 th  with an f/11 and captured a good image.  Just remember that a f stop of 11 and a shutter speed of 1/100 th are good starting points, you may need to adjust from there but they should get you in the ballpark.

A couple other suggestions that might help you out.

Invest in a remote trigger to trip your shutter. I purchased the Phottix Stratto, I think it was around $80 bucks and I have never been happier with a purchase.  This eliminates the need for using your self timer and it takes a lot of the residual shake out of your camera after you press the shutter button. It has so many uses, self portraits for group shots, still photos, which will allow you to shadow out the sun from your subject from any point, which you can’t do while manually holding the camera without setting up sun screens.  I can’t say enough good things about the remote trigger and the cost is low enough to justify.

Lenses…… if your going to buy a lens buy a good one, trust me on this. When I started out I picked up a Cannon 75-300mm EF Zoom, it did not have an image stabilizer and I can’t get over how many shots I couldn’t capture because of the lack of a stabilizer and I curse that purchase to this day. I should clarify the above statement, I did capture the images but the quality was terrible, usually blurred, so many once in a lifetime pictures end up deleted. If you can’t afford the more expensive lens then wait, wait, wait and wait some more, save your money until you can, you won’t be disappointed in the long run and your pictures will be 1000 times better.

Invest in a Photoshop program, you can find inexpensive ones on Ebay, I think I paid $150.00 for  Photoshop 3. I’m still learning it and there is a lot to learn believe me. Some of the basic tools will allow you to brighten or darken an image, remove an unwanted subject in a pic like a telephone pole or street sign, stitch images together for a panoramic view. The possibilities are endless but the point is you can take a mediocre shot and make it spectacular. The shot above with the moon I simply cropped and brightened just a pinch to highlight the moon a little more.

Good luck shooting the moon and if you have any tips feel free to leave them here…. but don’t get to technical…..   : )      Happy Hiking!!