No preset or auto function of your camera will be able to properly meter the moon, so you are best off shooting in full manual mode.  Also, your geographical location and current phase of the moon will have an effect on what your settings will be and you will need to adjust for the season of year and clarity of the sky. ISO.  Digital cameras should be set to 100 or lower, film shooters should shoot film of 100 ISO or slower to eliminate noise and grain. Post processing your photos is really straight forward and in most cases an auto white balance will do you just fine, however photographs of the moon also make stunning black and white images. I dont want to brag but with a point & shoot cannon SX160 I have better pics than most of you.
Get Free Photo TrainingWith Photzy you get a complete library of guides (produced by Light Stalking's Experts) Including 100+ tutorials on, Landscape, Post-Processing, Portraits, Composition, and more! This weekend's solar eclipse is a good opportunity to remind you that the moon is awesome to look at, even when it's not covering up the sun.
On Wednesday morning October 8, Earth's shadow will nibble away at the moon for this year's second total lunar eclipse.
In the Midwest at the start of the hour-long totality, the red moon will be about 20? (two fists) above the western horizon.
A low moon means easier framing with a pleasing foreground like a grove of fall trees, a church or distant line of mountain peaks. Sometimes it’s nice to have a foreground object to add character to your eclipse photos.
As the scene brightens during twilight, balancing the light of the dim moon, your photos will get even more interesting. Textures and details in foreground objects will stand out instead of appearing as silhouettes.
The full moon and even the partially eclipsed moon (up to about half) are so bright you can shoot a handheld photo without resorting to a tripod. To capture the encroaching shadow during partial phases you’ll need to overexpose the sunlit part of the moon. You can also shoot at ISO 800 and cut those times in half, important if you’re using a longish telephoto lens. Wide scene from April’s total eclipse with Spica below the moon and Mars to the right. The partial lunar eclipse of June 4, 2012, pre-dawn at moonset, from home in southern Alberta.
I'm a long-time amateur astronomer and member of the American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO). Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. I'm still amazed at the fact I can take a pretty decent picture of something which is, you know, in space! The original image was pretty huge so I reduced it down a bit for my site but it's still pretty nice.
Normally I shy away from recommending you purchase additional equipment to take your photos, but in this case, you will need to. If you own a Point and Shoot camera or a bridge camera that can't swap lenses, you can purchase teleconverters that can get you to 200mm.
Just like everything else in photography, there is a good time and a not-so-good time to take pictures. The moon isna€™t on the same daily schedule as the sun, so get an app for your phone that will tell you when the moon enters each phase, and rising and setting times. So use Spot metering on your camera so it will choose the appropriate exposure for the moon.
Also try the bracketing feature of your camera which will take a number of photos at different exposures. When using a telephoto lens with that magnification, I'd first make sure your camera is rock-steady as any small movement will be magnified by the lens and cause your image to be blurry.

If you do all those things and still have blurry images, that's when I'd start looking at other lenses.
I have reduced the EV to -2 and used manual settings 11 or 8 turns still well with 125, but my concern is ISO 200 reduces the sharpnes.
Peter Pawlicki says:Sep 27, 2015Isn't this moon also supposed to be a Blood Moon for the 4th time in 2 years, an unheard of phenomenon??? I've just acquired a Pentax K-3 and tried the 135 mm kit lens on the waxing moon, handheld, and got almost as good resultsit required a very fast exposure and the image stabilization appears to be very goodbut of course the images had to be blown up even more. Ronald says:Feb 5, 2015If your shooting stationary objects, like the moon, and want to prevent shaking, simply use your self-timer. Surfdancer says:Aug 10, 2014Thank you very much David, for your excellent, comprehensive tutorial!! I read a lot of articles on a variety of subjects and this was quite an odd group of comments.
A secure base and workstation for your camera is essential to capturing the moon and avoiding camera shake.  While you may be able to get away with hand holding your camera, your best results will without a doubt come from mounting your camera upon a tripod.
While almost any camera will work, point and shoots rarely produce decent photos, mostly due to the small size of the sensor and it over-heating during longer exposures resulting in digital noise.  A DSLR is preferred here, or film SLR, again with a long lens on it. You can buy powerful home-use telescopes for a few hundred dollars online, and take your own photos with a digital camera or cameraphone.
This eclipse offers unique opportunities especially for the eastern half of the country because the eclipsed moon will be low in the western sky near the start of and during morning twilight. From the East Coast the moon slips into total eclipse only a half hour before sunrise 6-7? high.
All of totality and all partial phases of the eclipse will be visible from western Midwest west to Hawaii and Alaska. And the lower it drops, the longer the telephoto lens you can use to enlarge the moon relative to the foreground. Last April’s totally eclipsed moon joins the old Central High School clock tower in downtown Duluth, Minn. Let’s say you want to include both scenic foreground and stars in the picture using a wide angle or standard lens. But in all but the newest, high-end cameras that comes at the price of increased graininess and less color saturation. There should be enough light to capture a pretty scene with the moon just emerging from total eclipse and during the ensuing partial phases. They are worth looking into if you plan on making the moon a serious staple in your photography. When you zoom in as much as youa€™ll be zooming in here, your images will be a lot more susceptible to camera shake. You probably already know that the best times for outdoor photography are the early morning and twilight hours, known as the golden hour. The moon is brightly lit, and you wona€™t get the crescent like here where the dark part of the moon is too dark while the lit part is too bright.
Spot metering tells the camera to correctly expose what's in the center of the image, the moon in this case.
Most of the time you can set the focus to infinity, but do some test shots with your own camera first as some cameras allow you to focus beyond infinity which will result in a blurry moon. You'll likely just see the moon with the rest of the image black, like the first image below. Place the photo that correctly exposes the moon on the top layer, and the photo that has the trees correctly exposed on the bottom layer. The overexposed moon from beneath has bled onto the sky, so we can see that as well as our good moon.

See a video tutorial of taking better photos of the moon inside my Digital Photo Secrets Video Course. By the start of totality, the moon will have dropped to within about 6? of the horizon as shown here.
So if you live in the eastern half of the country, find a site with a good view to the west. You'll find yourself taking better shots by using just two or three tips!Prepare to learn photography the fun way!Simple and effective tips and techniques. That means owning a digital SLR and equipping it with a telephoto lens that, at the very least, allows you to zoom in to 200mm. The full moon also rises and sets at the same time as the sun, so you'll be able to get some spectacular shots with the sky still partially illuminated by the sun.
It ignores the black around the edge of the photo that would otherwise fool the light sensor.
I use a slight cheat to fix that by pressing Ctrl-T to transform and making our moon a little bigger.
It needs to be on a steady tripod, and you should preferably use a remote shutter (or shutter timer) so your hand movements on the camera don't move the camera. The earth's rotation moves the moon quite a distance in a couple of seconds, which can show up in a photo. The new moon rises and sets at the same time as the sun, but that's not a particularly interesting time to photograph the moon (unless a solar eclipse happens to be in progress and you're standing in the moon's shadow). Check out my forthcoming book "Night Sky with the Naked Eye", a guide to the wonders of the night using only your eyes. If you use the camera's automatic settings, it's likely to get confused and the shutter will stay open too long.
If the moon is over exposed, you're going to lose some detail and won't be able to retrieve it in a paint program. Then use trial and error by changing the shutter speed until you can find the best exposure that works for your composition without overexposing the moon. I haven't tried automatic bracketing, but select usable exposures and clean them up in iPhoto and have been getting fairly good detail, but they have to be extremely cropped. Coupled with an app like Camera Awesome that lets you adjust focus and exposure and you can take some impressive shots.Suffice it to say, I really want to buy a telescope now. These lenses allow you to get in close enough to make the moon the highlight of your image. Note that rather than purchasing a very expensive 800mm lens, I recommend you use a 400mm and crop the image. Thata€™s when you can frame it with other elements in the image like buildings, mountains, and clouds.
And images show unexpected color deviations, to the yellow and reddish side, so the best solution has often been to convert them to b & w. It definitely helped to get more exposure by keeping the lens open longer and thus a sharper image.
And you can immediately see the correctly exposed moon and the trees in the layer underneath.

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