Where is the awesomeness coming from?
Never under 200mm
Use the landscape
Consider a series
Nice and steady
Don’t settle for the obvious
The moon is a classic, yet timeless subject for both film and photography. No matter how many photographs there are of it, it can still be surprising and beautiful. Unfortunately, it’s not enough to point your camera at it and push the button. It takes a little bit more than that, but we have 7 secrets that are sure to help you capture the moon in fantastic photographs.
Most people tend to associate the moon with lack of light, night and so on. But what really makes the moon cool? Ironically it’s the sun. That’s where all the brightness comes from, so you can forget about setting your camera on “night mode”. Expose for bright light, maybe not with the “sunny f16 rule”, but don’t even think about f2.8
A long lens is the most important item in your kit. I’ve heard of a photographer who tried to cheat his way out of carrying a long lens by using a 85mm lens on a D800 and relying on the resolution. I don’t need to tell you how wrong that is. For the best detail you should consider a lens longer than 300mm. If you don’t own one, consider renting or using a teleconverter.
Impressive moon photos don’t revolve just around the details and the craters. A wild or remote landscape can look amazing under full moonlight.
Once you get the hang of photographing the moon, why not do a series showing its phases? The moon looks different almost every night, not to mention every season. The shadows can look amazing in winter and in summer, you can capture the moon wrapped in a warm, golden light.
Because you will be using a long lens, it is vital to keep the camera as stable as possible. A tripod is the ideal solution in most cases, but if you don’t happen to have one with you, try to hold the camera steady on some rocks or whatever the landscape can provide. Or use a GorillaPod.
Once you figure out the correct exposure, change it! You can only tell the real quality of an image and the true level of detail on a computer screen, not on the camera’s LCD. What might seem like a good image could be out of focus, so tweak that every now and then too.
Not the movie, the time of day. That’s when the contrast is lower and the colors in the sky are beautiful. Whatever location you might have in mind for photographing the moon, it’s best to get there as early as possible. The first reason is being there to catch the twilight, the second is that if you want to capture scenery using the moonlight, with the moon somewhere in the background, you probably want to focus while you can still see clearly.