Photographing the Moon

A few weeks ago we experienced an uncommon, celestial event. This was when our moon turned “red”. If you didn’t catch it you certainly missed out on an amazing, humbling scene. It was one of the most beautiful things in nature I have ever seen.

Let’s take a look at some pictures of the moon. Of course it doesn’t truly demonstrate how it looked in person, but you will get an idea. The truth is that the moon lost a lot of its two dimensional aspect and really looked like a true three dimensional object hanging in the sky. The moon actually looked like a ball, rather than a flat disk. It looked as if you could have just got a really long ladder and climbed up and had a walk on the surface it appeared that close.

Here is a stunning image taken by Jenny Rollo:


It’s quite breathtaking actually. She said:

These are rather grainy as they were taken with 1600 ISO using just a camera and tripod, but it gives an idea of the lunar eclipse over Sydney last night (28/8/07).”

If you are taking moon pictures in the future you’ll quickly realise that your ISO is very important to be aware of. Just to reiterate again, the Iso is the digital cameras light sensitivity. The more ISO you have, the more sensitive to light your camera will be. You may experience a bit more digital noise so you have to weigh up which give you the best image.

In a nutshell you’ll need a telescope and an attachment for the camera. It’s all in the lens and the exposure which is why the lens is just the beginning. A picture like this where the moon was not as bright white as it usually required some exposure settings that were not as high as what you would use for a normal full white moon. This may have been taken with the shutter speed left open for a while. I would have guessed anywhere between 20 seconds and five minutes or longer.

Remember normally the moon is very bright if it’s a clear night. You will have to meter off the moon and you’ll find your camera may suggest somewhere between 1/125 and 1/500. If you are not sure then try some exposure bracketing to help.

In the mean time don’t stop looking at the beautiful night sky. You may be surprised at what you see; falling stars, a shift in position of the moon and constellations and even a satellite of two. They may for excellent time lapse shots. Never underestimate the sheer beauty and brilliance of the night sky. It offers us a chance, as photographers to capture the distant past and marvel at the place we live in.

Not impressed by the Universe? Then take a look at this, it’s from the Hubble Telescope:


This is the Spiral Galaxy M81. Just to give you an idea of the sheer size, let’s just say this is our galaxy (which its not.) You would have to expand this photo to an 8×10 print. Then to find Earth, you’d have to take a magnifying glass just to get a glimpse of Earths region and then maybe, just maybe, see earth as a teesnie spec on the very outer arm. We you think of it that way you start to one why the human race can’t just get along. After all we are one planet united.

Happy shooting,

Amy Renfrey


5 comments on “Photographing the Moon

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  4. I appreciate your comments on photographing the moon. For those of us without a tracking telescope, we must use higher ISO’s in order to minimize the exposure time so that relative movement of the earth and the moon does not cause blur. A shot of more than ten to fifteen seconds would be succeptible to this blur.

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