I Like To Take Moon Pictures, Too

Besides waterfall pictures I like to take Moon pictures. I first tried it with a film camera and a tele zoom at 205mm. That is a puny extension so a decent picture calls for lots of enlargement.

I now have a digital SLR with an APS-C sized sensor that multiplies the apparent focal length of the 75~300mm telephoto zoom by 1.5 to a nicer 450mm so less enlargement is necessary

I have tried using the ƒ16 rule for taking pictures of the moon. That makes a good start as the Moon is, depending on its phase, almost exactly the same distance from the Sun as the little kid you took a picture of in the afternoon so the same exposure should work. The Moon, itself is a dirty, dark object so to see detail you will want to open up a stop or two from the ƒ16 rule.

What is the ƒ16 rule? It says for correct exposure for a front lighted subject in bright sunshine use a shutter speed in seconds of 1/ISO speed at ƒ16 or equivalent exposure. So with an ISO of 400 and full sunshine you would set ƒ16 at 1/400 seconds OR 1/800 seconds at ƒ8. And so on.

Both pictures below were taken with the equivalent of a 450mm lens and on the 10MP camera after cropping before resizing the pictures were 6.9. I resized them to 6 inches wide and then EP does its thing, but size wise they should be the same. The first picture is one day further from full so there is a little phase darkness on the one edge. So it’s not as round.

The first picture is 1/500 at ƒ5.6 at ISO 400 or about 2⅔ stops brighter than is called for by the ƒ16 rule.

The second picture was taken earlier the next evening with the Moon closer to the horizon so the light from the Moon to the camera was attenuated and colored by the trip through the Earth’s atmosphere. Its exposure is 1/200 at ƒ5.6 at ISO 400 or about 4 stops brighter than called for by the ƒ16 rule. 


MPsslavetommy MPsslavetommy
70+, M
2 Responses Jul 15, 2010

What is the longest lens you will be using?

Love them!!