The Chinese Mid-autumn Festival is around the corner. And for the Chinese, it is a time for family members and loved ones to congregate and enjoy the full moon - an auspicious symbol of abundance, harmony and luck. Most of time, we will take out a camera and photograph the sweet moment. And being the brightest object in the night sky, it’s something photographers of all levels can shoot, however it does take planning and preparation to accomplish.
Tripod. A secure base for your camera is essential to capture the moon and avoid camera shake.
Long zoom lens. In order to help fill the frame and properly show off the moon, the longer your zoom lens the better. It’s best to use anything 300mm or longer.
|Photo by Flowery *L*u*z*a*|
Shutter release cable. This is not an essential piece, but it’s nice to have and helps avoid camera shake. If you don’t have one, you can use the self timer function on your camera.
Camera. While almost any camera will work but rarely produce decent photos, mostly due to the small size of the sensor and it over-heating during longer exposures resulting in digital noise. A DSLR is preferred here, or film SLR, again with a long lens on it. No preset or auto function of your camera will be able to properly meter the moon, so you are best off shooting in full manual mode.
ISO. Digital cameras should be set to 100 or lower, film shooters should shoot film of 100 ISO or slower to eliminate noise and grain.
Aperture. Because you’re after crisp, clean shots shooting at f/11 to f/16 will be the best place to start.
Photo by jurvetson
Shutter speed. This will be the point at which you will need to adjust on a number of shots. The variables include the phase the moon is in, geographical location and desired shot, but on a clear night starting at about 1/60th should be a great middle ground.
Picking a spot to shoot the moon is one of the most important factors in achieving a quality shot. If you want to showcase the moon itself you want to avoid any other ambient light, including street lights and traffic. On the contrary, if you are trying to include a city skyline under your moon shot, you’ll need to find a lookout that allows for the twinkling lights.