Saturday, January 30, 2010

Experiment: Shooting the Moon

One morning last March, I was awake at an incredibly early hour. We were in the middle of a deep-freeze and if it weren't for the fact the dogs needed to go outside, I would have stayed warm in my blankets. But I bundled up and brought them out anyway (my kingdom for a fenced backyard! See "Wish list" on my previous post). I looked up and saw an amazing moon halo and coronas, which I would not have seen had I not been awake that early and if it weren't so cold that ice crystals were forming in the air. It was so cool, but the crappy camera I had at the time didn't quite capture the look as well as I would have liked. I vowed with the new camera to get more pictures like them.

Friday night, I saw a different kind of moon halo caused by super-thin cloud cover. Snap, snap, snap! Pictures!

Moon Halo #1
Exposure:      8
Aperture:     f/22.0
Focal Length:     18 mm
Light Setting: Fluorescent Light (DOH!)

I was playing with the manual settings because the last time I took pictures of the night sky I used the Auto Focus and the results were less than stellar.

Moon Halo #2
Exposure:      6
Aperture:     f/14.0
Focal Length:     18 mm
Light Setting: Fluorescent Light (DOH!)

I was trying different apertures and exposures. I took about 10 pictures at different settings before I realized that I'd had the lighting set to fluorescent. Doh!

Moon Halo #3
Exposure:      6
Aperture:     f/14.0
Focal Length:     18 mm
Light Setting: Auto

So then I switched it to auto. I almost think the fluorescent setting was better because I like the blue-violet tinge to the sky. But the auto setting resulted in a more realistic look. Moon Halo #3 and #4 look slightly different because of shifts in cloud-cover.

Moon Halo #4
Exposure:      6
Aperture:     f/14.0
Focal Length:     18 mm
Light Setting: Auto

I feel these turned out better than the Orion pictures. Every time I play around with the camera, I try to explore more of the manual settings. I've read the manual for my camera, but I'm really one of those people who have to learn by doing. Having this blog to really examine what I'm doing helps because putting it in writing helps me remember, too! Then there are readers like Richard at Capturing Light and Rob at North Metro Photo who occasionally send me bits of wisdom. And other words of encouragement from people like Courtney at ThisisCourtney.com and J.J.S. at Shutteria.com make my day!  Totally digging this photo blogging thing! :)

5 comments:

  1. Nice! Good for you to brave the cold. I used to like winter, but post 40, I dream of wintering closer to the equater. You pics turned out great with the definition of the halo. The moon is incredibly bright and as you know can be fickle to shoot.

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  2. Thanks :) I love the cold :) I think I'm just about the only person I know willing to brave the cold to do much of anything. Crazy, because almost everyone I know lives in Minnesota. C'mon, it's not that bad :)

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  3. Camera batteries hate the cold as much as the blue haired generation. So do my fingers. ;) But, the camera sensor loves the cold and not a noise problem with long exposures. In the summer, long exposures require camera noise reduction to cool the sensor.

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  4. I have discovered the battery problem. In fact, that probably explains why my date reset taking pictures a few weeks ago. Froze the battery and reset the power.

    Hmm... shouldn't probably do that again :)

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