How do I photograph the moon?

Photo-Fan

I'm New Here
Nov 13, 2021
12
2
Last night I saw a nice colourful full size moon and thought that would make a great photo.

Can someone please give me what settings I need to use to get a photo, thank you.

Camera: 5d Mark IV
Lens: Canon EF 70-300mm F/4-5.6 IS USM
 

randym77

EOS M6 Mark II
Dec 8, 2012
86
10
There's plenty of advice out there if you Google it.

Here's Canon's page on it:


IME, it's brighter than you think. You're basically photographing (reflected) sunlight. Too dark is better than too bright, if you want to see the craters and all. You can always increase the brightness in post.

You will of course need a tripod. And the longer the focal length the better, if you are only photographing the moon. (The Canon link has a graphic that shows you how big the moon will be in your frame, with different focal lengths.)

If you want to photograph a moonlit landscape, Scott Kelby recommends doing it the day before the moon is full. The moon won't be as bright, so you'll be able to expose the darker landscape better.
 
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StoicalEtcher

EOS RP
CR Pro
Jan 3, 2018
417
357
Yorkshire
There's plenty of advice out there if you Google it.

Here's Canon's page on it:


IME, it's brighter than you think. You're basically photographing (reflected) sunlight. Too dark is better than too bright, if you want to see the craters and all. You can always increase the brightness in post.

You will of course need a tripod. And the longer the focal length the better, if you are only photographing the moon. (The Canon link has a graphic that shows you how big the moon will be in your frame, with different focal lengths.)

If you want to photograph a moonlit landscape, Scott Kelby recommends doing it the day before the moon is full. The moon won't be as bright, so you'll be able to expose the darker landscape better.
Many thanks for linking that article - while it wasn't me that asked the question, that was an interesting read, with some useful practical tips.
Cheers Stoical.
 
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Photo-Fan

I'm New Here
Nov 13, 2021
12
2
There's plenty of advice out there if you Google it.

Here's Canon's page on it:


IME, it's brighter than you think. You're basically photographing (reflected) sunlight. Too dark is better than too bright, if you want to see the craters and all. You can always increase the brightness in post.

You will of course need a tripod. And the longer the focal length the better, if you are only photographing the moon. (The Canon link has a graphic that shows you how big the moon will be in your frame, with different focal lengths.)

If you want to photograph a moonlit landscape, Scott Kelby recommends doing it the day before the moon is full. The moon won't be as bright, so you'll be able to expose the darker landscape better.
Thanks for the link, it has some interesting info.
 
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Joules

doom
CR Pro
Jul 16, 2017
1,791
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Hamburg, Germany
I would disagree with closing the aperture too much. What's the point of going for f/11 or darker?

When I shoot the moon with my Sigma 150-600 6.3 on my 80D, I usually go for f/7.1, which is just its sweet spot in terms of sharpness, despite creeping into the territory of diffraction.

You should probably stick to the sweet spot of your lens as well.

Having a shorter exposure time is also often very much desirable, since not only is the moon movong relative to the earth, but the atmosphere in between your lens and the moon is also moving. And this turbulence of zhe air, referred to as 'seeing', can have significant impact on sharpness in the image, especially with longer exposures.

Lucky imaging is an interesting field if you like the technical side of photography. But if you just wanted to take a picture of the moon, you don't need it. It is just a method to combat poor seeing. A less technical option is just to wait for better conditions, as some night have much calmer air and hence better seeing than others.
 
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AlanF

Stay at home
CR Pro
Aug 16, 2012
9,579
14,292
It's easy with mirrorless. Just point at the moon, and adjust the exposure to what you think is right in the viewfinder. I can't be bothered with a tripod, just use a sufficiently fast shutter speed with shorter telephotos. With a DSLR like your 5DIV, do some trial shots or use liveview to get exposure right. With your 70-300mm you are not going to get much detail of the craters, and the full moon never gives much detail anyway as they don't cast shadows then.
 

dcm

It's not the gear. But it helps.
CR Pro
Apr 18, 2013
1,052
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Colorado, USA
I usually shoot in manual mode and refer back to my old Nikon School Handbook from the film days. It is still a good starting point for dialing in exposure for the different phases of the moon and gives you some things to think about. Start with full moons first to dial things in on your camera. This is for moon elevations above 40 degrees. You will need to open the aperture 1/3 to 1/2 stop for elevations of 20 to 40 degrees.

PhaseISOExposureAperture
Crescent Moon641/15f/5.6
Half Moon641/60f/8
Gibbous Moon641/125f/8
Full Moon641/250f/8
Total Eclipse2002 secf/4

Never actually used a Nikon camera, but they had a great school program.