Paul, I like your crane shot.
Any tips for shooting a full moon (at night) with a large format camera? I'll be using either HP5+ or TMax 400, I forget which I have loaded at this moment. The full moon is tonight and we might actually have clear skies.
I should clarify a bit. I will be in a conservation park which has no lighting other than natural light. It would be nice to get the moon such that it is not a blur in the sky. Is this possible at all under these conditions? I did some test shots with 8x10 Acros last week and had moon blur at 2 min.
I would also like to shoot the landscape under the moon (moon not in the shot, but acting as the reflecting light source). Has anyone shot moonlit landscapes away from city lights?
Last edited by colrehogan; 08-06-2009 at 11:20 AM. Click to view previous post history.
The full moon itself?
Just remember that on the side of the moon facing us, it isn't night tonight, but bright, sun-lit day.
So go out today while the sun is still shining, and get a reading for a bright, sun-lit day.
If you have light sources in your image and want to get that nice starburst pattern that shows up in Paul's photos, stop down to f11-f16 (may vary depending on your lens).
Q.G. that's all well and good if we didn't have an atmosphere and if the moon didn't have phases. This question comes up quite often and, without fail, somebody implies that it's always as simple as sunny 16 on terra firma. That's true only when it's true!
Diane, to shoot the moon, just try to short-suit yourself if possible by passing the right cards Oh and spot meter and you will nail it. Remember that for tight crops you need exposures of ~1/320 sec if you want detail in the moon (there will be motion blur otherwise). For loose crops in which the moon is just a smallish part of a landscape then you can get by with much much slower exposures, maybe even 1/60.
To shoot a moonlit landscape, again, why not just meter. Sometimes you will be able to wing it with luny-11 (f/11, 1/ISO)... but sometimes not. Depends how much shadow detail you want, of course!
There is no simple formula; if there were, the photograph probably wouldn't be worth taking.
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Thanks for your reply, Keith. I might have a problem with that shutter speed. My lens' fastest shutter speed is 1/75. I can open it up to f/4.5 however. This is on a whole plate camera (no chance of a close up of the moon with that). I could try a wider angle lens, but I am limited by how much foreground I really want. I have a subject that I can't get close to at the moment because the farmers would get mad if people just walked through their crops. I am photographing from the edge of the field. I will try a different spot based on where the moon is in relation to my subject tonight.
I will try and wing it with the moonlit landscape too. I take notes when I shoot.
So, if the moon is about as big in the frame as that one in Adams' Hernandez shot then you can get by with very long shutter speeds. I go to the faster speeds (1/200 and faster) only if the moon is filling a significant portion of the frame. 1/320 would be for a frame-filling shot with lots of moon detail.
There is no single minimum shutter speed for stopping lunar motion. The defacto standard text for a couple of decades; Michael A. Covington, Astrophotography for the Amateur, page 38 in the section on photographing the moon, says to stop motion blur for any celestial object, including the moon:
The exposure for the moon won't be nearly the same as for the moonlit landscape after dusk, you'll have to choose one or the other. You can get a better balance if you shoot at dusk or near sunset.
The formula to use is:
Longest practical exposure in seconds = 250 ÷ focal length
More useful info on night time landscape photography:
P.S. I see Keith revised his suggestion to take focal length into account as well.
Thanks Lee. By that formula, I get about .92 sec. shooting a 270 mm lens. Well, I'll see what happens. Then my other problem is getting the lab to print it such that it looks like a night shot. All I need to do is tell them that these are night shots. My test shots came back looking like they were daylight.
That formula is for stopping the motion to the point that it doesn't blur at all at standard size and viewing distance, and is aimed mostly at 35mm and MF cameras, so you can probably squeeze out a bit longer exposure with 8x10 and less expected enlargement. It does give you a good starting point for defining your own standard to suit your particular use. Have fun. Let us know what you learn.
Originally Posted by colrehogan