Thinking about doing some moonlight night photos this weekend on a short photo trip. I've done regular night photos before and usually just "wing" the exposure. I'd like to get a better ballpark exposure this time since I will most likely be using sheet film and wont have the opportunity to shoot as many frames. My plan is to not have the moon in the frame, but I'd also like to try one or two frames with it included. Anyone have a ballpark guess for me?
Ansel said the moon is 250 c/ft2, so the exposure would be 1/250 at an f-stop that's the square root of the film ASA. I think I remember that formula correctly.
I find the "moony 11" rule to be fairly reliable--the full moon is f:11 at 1/ISO.
This is, of course, much brighter than the moonlit landscape, so the thing to do for landscapes with the moon is to try to mask out the moon using a matte box in front of the lens, photograph the landscape without the moon, remove the mask, and then add in the moon at f:11 at 1/ISO, which will have virtually no effect on the rest of the exposure.
I guesstimate my exposures based on the EV (usually -2 to -4, depending on how close to full the moon is) and how clear the sky is. I give a rough fudge factor for reciprocity - a little more for traditional emulsions, a little less for T-Max emulsions.
With Tri-X I find 10 minutes at f/5.6 to be about right under a 3/4 moon. I bracket in full stops on either side when time permits. I've also had very good success with FP4+, tho' I haven't keep exposure records.
Lately I've been souping either in Diafine or Rodinal at 1:200 with stand development for two hours or so.
This full moon I've done a little of all of the above. It's all good. I'm more interesting in subjects illuminated by the moon, so I don't care if the moon itself is blown out in the shot. Usually I want to preserve the appearance of a photo taken at night so I seldom print the "overexposed" negs, even if the shadow detail is better.
Nuts. I just realized I transposed some data. My above statement should have read 10 minutes at f/5.6 as a starting point for FP4+, not Tri-X.
However exposure also depends on the intended developer. If Diafine I'd be comfortable with a little less exposure; if Rodinal I'd want more exposure.
I did a whole roll one night and bracketed like crazy. It turns out those guys in the white lab coats at Kodak really knew what they were doing when they wrote the "Professional Photoguide". The best images were 3 to 5 minutes at F/8, Elitechrome 200 (which is well known for it's excellent reciprocity performance). I think this is right in the middle of what the Photoguide recommends. I was fortunate that this particular full Moon happened when the Moon was also very close to the Earth. It doesn't happen often, but sometimes you go outside and think the Moonlight is a lot brighter than normal. The only thing I really noticed is that shadows are perfectly black, no reflected light like you would get in the daytime.
My best attempt at photographing the moon is "Beach Light" in the Standard Gallery. The image is a double exposure. The moon was exposed first with the Mamiya 250mm set wide open at 5.6 and 1/250 second (sort of ISO=200 and the "sunny-16") after all, it is illuminated by the full sun.
I waited several hours for the moon to move out of frame and clamped the lens open at f/11 for 12 minutes (or so). I developed the roll at N-1 in D76. I should have done N-2 or used D23 split. The contrasts are truly incredible and the image very hard to print. The flare in the house windows is exaggerated in the scan of my 8x10 test print. The 11x14s have much better contrast control and less flair. When properly burned, one can make out details inside the residence. The real tip-off are the shadows - they'r at the wrong angle!
P.S. When I looked at the posted image, it looks really fuzzy. The jpg in ps looks better but neither looks as sharp as the 11x14 I sold. I hate to do it but I guess I gotta get a film (negative) scan***. Bit my tongue!