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Thread: Last nights Moon

  1. #1
    Elite Member Gramps's Avatar
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    Last nights Moon

    Well I got told I would get hook if I started on this.
    So far I am not hooked but I like to think with each time I go out to take a shot I am getting a little better.
    So with the moon being close on to a full moon I agree with others who have said it isn't as good a a quarter moon.
    With it this way I have got these ones out of the couple of tries at getting a nice shot of.

    Attachment 4434

    Attachment 4435
    This is and could had been cropped but this is how it came out of the camera, so I just left it.
    CC is always welcome, the good and the bad. I promise not to take it personal as I know it wasn't meant that way.

    Sony a77 with 18/55mm lens
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  2. #2
    Pretty nice. I haven't attempted shooting the moon myself.
    Amateur and unskilled photographer with a very small collection of gears.

  3. #3
    Elite Member BrianC's Avatar
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    Pretty moon shots, Gramps. I take it you used your Sigma? Astrophotography is harder than it seems it should be. I'm just getting to the point where my shots are OK. Also like the crescent moons better, especially for the 3D quality they show.
    Last edited by BrianC; Feb 22 2016 at 02:56 PM.

  4. #4
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    I'd love to know what kind of EXIF you have going on with these....

    The first one in this series seems to show off some good crater edges on the outer edges, but the inner just sort of gets lost....I don't even know why that happens. But I guess I should read up on it(the moon is on the short list of things I want to photo).



    Have you tried multiple exposures and 'stacking'?
    Might give a little more room for wiggling in pulling detail out....



    Scott ("got me some readin' to do"-think of how Lucy would say it) B

  5. #5
    Elite Member leuius's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SDB777 View Post
    I'd love to know what kind of EXIF you have going on with these....

    The first one in this series seems to show off some good crater edges on the outer edges, but the inner just sort of gets lost....I don't even know why that happens. But I guess I should read up on it(the moon is on the short list of things I want to photo).

    Have you tried multiple exposures and 'stacking'?
    Might give a little more room for wiggling in pulling detail out....
    I have been shooting at the moon for awhile and here are a few recommendations:

    1. To combat atmospheric disturbance, you should aim for a higher speed. You need to trade this off for ISO. If you zoom in strongly enough and just observe the surface, you will see shimmering cause by otherwise invisible high winds, humidity and temperature gradients in our atmosphere. This will blur your picture if your speed is too low. You can also try short picture bursts and select a better frame after the fact.

    2. Maximize the sharpness of your lens by opening aperture at around f/8-f/11. Again a trade-off vs ISO.

    3. Newer cameras offer better high-ISO performance (within reason) so I tend to accept up to 1600 but anything below 1000 is really quite good.

    4. Expose manually and use spot metering. Try frames +/- 1 EV to see the difference between various moon areas (curvature and intrinsic surface composition will change luminosity).

    5. Focus on the terminator (the edge between light and darkness). This is why a crescent moon is easier (and nicer looking often times) to picture, i.e. you get more surface texture because of crater shadows.

    6. Tele-converters are a so-so proposition. Good for magnification (less cropping required) but not so good for optical performance in general. You loose a lot of light but can offset with higher ISO (again). Some experimentation is required.

    7. Find a good and stable tripod. You will need to update tracking often. I always use shutter delay of 2 seconds to prevent camera shake but alternately you can use hands-off triggering (wi-fi for example).

    8. If you work in a colder place, let your equipment cool down to outdoor ambient temperature first. The cold helps the electronics (reduces picture noise) but your battery will suffer. When you take your equipment indoors later, wrap it up in a plastic bag first to prevent condensation and let it warm up gradually. Only then do you open the bag and upload your images.

    9. Stacking works but finding the right settings is not trivial. One of the better known (and free) program to do this is Registax. Amazing number of parameters. Steep learning curve warning. Works with video as well (good way of getting a lot of frames to stack).

    Working in a dryer, higher altitude area is a plus for astronomy in general. Obviously, avoid light polluted city areas as well.

    Good luck.

    Stef

  6. #6
    Nice recommendations, Stef. Thanks for sharing.

    I have a small question on your point 8,
    Quote Originally Posted by leuius View Post
    8. (...) When you take your equipment indoors later, wrap it up in a plastic bag first to prevent condensation and let it warm up gradually. Only then do you open the bag and upload your images.
    Do I need to go through all those carefulness if I just want to remove SD card from camera body? Or can I take up the SD card outside first before getting indoor?

    Also on point 8,
    Quote Originally Posted by leuius View Post
    8. (...) The cold helps the electronics (reduces picture noise) but your battery will suffer.
    Sony sells Battery Grip, which doubles the battery life and can be handy in this situation.
    Amateur and unskilled photographer with a very small collection of gears.

  7. #7
    Elite Member BrianC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by leuius View Post
    I have been shooting at the moon for awhile and here are a few recommendations:
    (snip)
    ...Working in a dryer, higher altitude area is a plus for astronomy in general. Obviously, avoid light polluted city areas as well.
    Excellent primer on moon and astrophotography shots, Stef. Thank you! I'm making a little bit of progress with night shots, but have a long way to go yet. Here is a recent one from my balcony, using my Vivitar 17:

    Last edited by BrianC; Feb 23 2016 at 12:12 PM.
    BrianC a.k.a. cougarox
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  8. #8
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    Was thinking anything that started out from:

    ISO-100
    f/8
    1/200

    From anything at 300mm would be a good start. Shooting a bunch of photo's and then pick from the best to stack in your favorite software of choice....


    Are you using any kind of 'tracking rig', or are you just tripod mounting?



    Scott (I have to travel away from crappy night skies) B

  9. #9
    Elite Member Gramps's Avatar
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    So much info to absorb and thank you to you all for that info and comments.
    The lens used was my Tamron 170/600mm. So both shot are a the full focal length of 600.
    I also use a Shutter Release cable which I am hoping to change up to a cordless shutter released as soon as I can.

    To hand back so info on these shots are as followed
    The top shot with the moon cropped closer. F/10, Shutter= 1/80th of a second, ISO = 80

    The more at a distance are F/10, Shutter = 1/160th of a second ISO = 80

    The moon has been so bright that if you went with a normal setting you would have got a bright blob.
    So most of the work was done in camera and then I had a tickle and this is where it more than likely might not be working out as talked about.
    As sometimes I might not go as far as I should or it could be the other way.
    Though I will say I am learning each time I go out. And I am not a fan of the full moon.
    I like it with more shadow as it shows up much better in my opinion.
    Now the stars are a totally different story, as I just can't get one good shot of them.
    CC is always welcome, the good and the bad. I promise not to take it personal as I know it wasn't meant that way.

    Sony a77 with 18/55mm lens
    Sony DT 2.8/30 Macro
    Tamron SP AF 90mm F/2.8 Di Macro
    Sony DT 55/200
    Sigma DG 70/300 lens with Macro button

    Tamron 150-600 f5.6-6.3 Di USD

    Plus some Filters


  10. #10
    Elite Member leuius's Avatar
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    Since my last note, I also thought of adding another tip:

    10. Try to picture the moon (or stars in general) when it is as high in the sky as possible to reduce the amount of air between you and the object. This is related to point "1"... the atmosphere is *not* your friend. You can make pretty/artistic shots of the moon and horizon but those will almost always be the worst for showing details as the light is traversing a very long region of air space. Another thing is to work when the wind is down.

    Here is a link to consider for people living in Canada, the USA and northern Mexico. It is an astronomical weather forecast, showing you what the best times are to shot at, where you are, based on Canadian Weather forecasting models developed by a friend of mine and fellow amateur astronomer. It shows the atmospheric conditions per hour, looking out 48 hours. It is VERY good.

    To answer some outstanding questions:

    @Antony: I try not to remove the SD card from the camera unless I have to. The problem with a cold SD card (like the camera itself) is that condensation will form. Over time, corrosion could appear on electrical contacts, you may get intermittently bad connections (the worst to diagnose and fix) or fungus may develop. It's all a matter of temperature difference and humidity (dew point). Working outside at -20C (or worst) and stepping into a house at +20C (or more) is often an immediate case of fogging your lenses. Any cold part of your system will get "wet". So, the general idea is to wrap a sealed bag (with cold air inside) around your object and let the bag outer membrane get wet while the temperature evens out. If your temperatures are not so extreme and no condensation problem exist, you don't have to worry about all this. People I know who are very serious about astro-photography work in a tethered mode, where the camera uploads images from the outside while they are comfortably installed inside. You do need quite a bit of equipment (tracking mount, extra power, computer+software, etc) for this to work.

    @Scott:I think your settings are fine if you can get a good exposure with them. I track manually on the tripod, working in short bursts and adjusting gradually. Observe which way the moon is moving and position it at one side of the viewfinder at the beginning of your shot and let it move across if you don't want to do this constantly. The higher your focal length, the more you need to adjust. This is less the case if you shoot a wide sky scene where you want to expose much longer to recover faint objects.

    Another rule of thumb is to divide 500 by your (apparent, i.e. cropped) focal length, in mm. The result is the maximum time you can expose before stars will start trailing, not being circular anymore and becoming lines. This is not a problem with the moon because it is a very bright object.

    Also, there is software to help you pick the best frames out of a bunch, whether you want to stack or not. I recommend PIPP (free software but quite powerful and very well done).

    @Brian: I would love to see the sky from your balcony!! No way can I get this without driving... A very nice view of Orion and you can also see my favorite, the Pleiades, top right. Just wow!!

    Cheers,

    Stef

  11. #11
    Great photos Gramps and I would like to try this with the 70-300mm lens I currently have with the A7 II. I wonder how the results will be and will use the settings Stef suggested to It's hard to get sharp moon shots!

    Thanks for sharing all the great tips and info Stef!

    Jay
    Jay - Comments, Questions, and Critiques always welcomed and encouraged!

    Current Everyday Gear: Sony A7r, Sony A6400, Sony Nex-6, Sigma 56mm f/1.4 Lens, Sigma 30mm f/1.4 Lens, Sony E 18-55mm, Sony E 55-210mm OSS Lens, Sony E 16mm f/2.8 Pancake, Rainbow Imagining MC/MD Lens Adapter w/ Minolta MD 50mm f/1.4 PG Rokkor Lens

  12. #12
    Nice work Gramps and Brian & great insights on techniques and things to try for shooting night sky. I kind of figured you were using longer than a 300mm lens to bring out the detail I could see on the right side of the cropped moon shot. I know very little in this avenue, but seem to have found from my experience that I always need to go way down with the exposure setting & like the results I've obtained better when underexposed and with iso as low as I can get away with. Since I don't have the experience, generally try a lot of different combinations, but seem to like the images best when iso is no more than 160 and aperture around f/8 (this with the 55-210). Hope for some more clear skies before we get into the hot weather, so I can experiment a bit more.

    One thing I seem to always have to address in PP is some CA on one side of my moon shots. Guess this is the compromise part of the 55-210 lens. Thoughts on addressing this to minimize when shooting or in PP? Generally I selectively adjust that part of the image or try to apply an automatic CA adjustment in PP, but think this can reduce sharpness of the edge as well.

  13. #13
    Elite Member Gramps's Avatar
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    Its a real blast to get information given to you as an option and not as do as I say because I know better than you.
    So this is really worth me wanting to listen to what has been said in this thread as in all threads.

    There is so much food for thought and I will read this all over again and pick up on what has been said.
    I am bad with reading as it take me a few times to read for me to fully understand what has been said.

    On this shoot that night I actually moved my tripod so it was just above the moon.
    When it got just got into shot I took the shot, them waited for all the display to come back on the screen and took the next one.
    I done this and with a few moving the camera to the left a little to keep it all in shot as it was rising and moving to the left at the same time.
    It took just over 20 shots to get the moon barely in the screen and all the way up until it was out of shot at the top of the screen.
    I would like to post it and I think I might try to do it but not too sure how it will turn out.
    CC is always welcome, the good and the bad. I promise not to take it personal as I know it wasn't meant that way.

    Sony a77 with 18/55mm lens
    Sony DT 2.8/30 Macro
    Tamron SP AF 90mm F/2.8 Di Macro
    Sony DT 55/200
    Sigma DG 70/300 lens with Macro button

    Tamron 150-600 f5.6-6.3 Di USD

    Plus some Filters


  14. #14
    Thank you for the points Stef, I will keep that in mind.

    Obviously, I haven't experienced -20°C in my life. I don't live somewhere with beautiful snow. Summer nights in Sydney can still be pretty warm.
    Amateur and unskilled photographer with a very small collection of gears.

  15. #15
    Elite Member leuius's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by antony View Post
    Obviously, I haven't experienced -20°C in my life. I don't live somewhere with beautiful snow. Summer nights in Sydney can still be pretty warm.
    A few weeks ago, the temperature was hovering around -40C. That is bitterly cold. Starting a car in those conditions is a gamble; your engine truly does not appreciate the treatment. Summer nights in Montreal can be hot and humid also but that is still several months away. In the meantime, this is what "beautiful snow" looks like...

    Name:  weather.jpg
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    Cheers!

  16. #16
    Elite Member Gramps's Avatar
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    Nice one Leuius. As strange as this might sound I think I cold sit there and watch them do this work.
    Its good driving if you ask me.
    Thanks for your thoughts also as I know it will help me and others later.
    I might be having another go at the moon tonight as I harddiver I have got has stopped working.
    So its in the shop with the hope they can get my photo's off as I hadn't backed up for a while.
    So only me to blame.
    CC is always welcome, the good and the bad. I promise not to take it personal as I know it wasn't meant that way.

    Sony a77 with 18/55mm lens
    Sony DT 2.8/30 Macro
    Tamron SP AF 90mm F/2.8 Di Macro
    Sony DT 55/200
    Sigma DG 70/300 lens with Macro button

    Tamron 150-600 f5.6-6.3 Di USD

    Plus some Filters


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