Ever tried mooning? Excuse me for lowering the tone in this respectable little blog… No, what I mean by mooning is not “exposing one’s buttocks” to an audience, but the process of shooting some nice images of the moon. Earth’s little satellite is a worth-while photo object – and yet it is not that easy to take a picture of the moon, even on a clear night with a full moon.
Well, in a way I am exposing myself to you today – by sharing some thoughts about a recent photo experience that went
sliiiiightly wrong, but from which I have learned a good bit.
Take this image, for instance. It was taken not long ago, full moon, still night. When I stepped outside and saw the silver moonlight reflected on the calm sea, I knew it could translate nicely into an image. And I knew enough about photography to grab my tripod as this would need a long exposure to get captured on
film the light sensor. I was quite chuffed with my resulting, above image – from what I could see on the little display of my DSLR. But what I saw on screen when I transferred the image to my archive, did not thrill me quite as much.
Ok, I did say that I was not going to turn this into a mono
blog ue of photospeak, but I have to back pedal a bit in order to explain what went on here. Gee, I hate picking my own image apart – why I am doing this?? In order to get as much light into the camera as possible while keeping the shutter speed as fast as possible, the image was shot with an aperture of f4.5. This still required a shutter speed of 15 bloody seconds – much too long for Miss Hand-Held here.
Right, as I said, I was clever enough to shoot this with the camera mounted on my flimsy plastic tripod. And yet, if you look closely at the coloured lights on the left, there was some camera shake. It took me a while to figure out how that happened, while on the tripod. Conclusion: Releasing the shutter by pressing the little button resulted in movement which was translated into the image. It’s quite possible that even the mechanical opening and shutting of the aperture added to the slight shake and blurred the details *doh*. The rickety tripod could also have added to the effect.
And here is another thing that makes shooting the moon difficult (pointed out and explained to me by fellow photographer Graham – thanks, man!): The Earth’s rotation and the moon’s own movement in the sky can be noticeable in your image if you expose for anything longer than 20 seconds. Yeah, that’s astronomy in
Have I succeeded in putting you off “mooning”? That was not my intention – but rather to pontificate again about the usefulness of knowing how photography works and why it is beneficial to understand the mechanics and interrelation of aperture and shutter speed. It’s not that difficult, really – even for girls…
See ya soon – off to enjoy Christmas now!