dallin June 27th, 2010
In the game of Hearts, Shooting the Moon is a risky and tricky strategy which can pay off very well, or have dire consequences if the desired result is not achieved.
Fortunately, taking photos of the moon does not come with such disastrous consequences, but it can still be quite tricky to do. The moon is very bright, but surrounding it is complete darkness. Digital cameras try to measure the light across the whole scene to get a properly exposed picture. Unfortunately, with such an unbalanced scene, this means the the moon will be very over-exposed, and retain almost no detail.
This is one occasion where shooting in Manual mode (if available) is almost the only way to capture a reasonable picture. The camera wanted to take this picture with a shutter speed of 1/15th of a second. Even with image stabilisation, there is no way I could even get a clear picture fully zoomed in (at 250mm) with that slow a shutter speed (I need to get a tripod!). But, the moon would also have been completely blown out with no detail in it.
To capture this shot I had to increase the shutter speed to 1/640th of a second – 40 times faster than what the camera thought would be good! For those photographers out there, that’s just over 5 stops less light. Exposure compensation on my camera only let’s me adjust by 2 stops (up or down), so without dialing in all of my own values in Manual mode, I wouldn’t have been able to get anything like this. Looking at the settings now, I probably should have adjusted the Aperture, but that’s a story for another day.
Earlier in the evening I also caught this image of the moon rising over the clouds.
I was in a rush when I took this, so I didn’t have time to adjust the settings as I’d have liked to, and the pic isn’t as good as it could have been. That said, it was a very beautiful moment, and I was fortunate to see it and have my camera on hand to capture it, even if the capture isn’t perfect.