You are shooting the moon with a WHAT?

I received an interesting e-mail from crazy woman Robin… you know, “the other Robin”, one of our most recent members who I met through Capture Dallas. I can tell you that Robin is an excellent photographer, has posted some unique shots on Capture Dallas, is driven to excel and is… a bit crazy! But then again, she did join the club, and it took no coercion on my part to get her to do so!

This is the e-mail that I got after posting the Super Moon…
” I had pretty much the same experience. I took a compass to White Rock Lake, tried most of the parking lots until I found one where there was something interesting in the foreground where the moon would come up, set up with the tripod and remote release, and waited.

A couple of older men trickled in with their tripods, too, and we waited. Eventually, about 8:20, one of the men called his wife and asked her to check the back page of the newspaper – he still takes the paper – and sure enough it was supposed to have come up at 7:58. While he was talking I spotted it, about five degrees above the horizon and barely noticeable.

I shot a few frames, and decided to go home and wait in my drive, but as I was going around the lake I saw a few opportunities to get clearer shots with a tree in the frame, so I pulled off on the rich people’s manicured shoulder and shot hand-held. By this time I had installed the doubler, so I was shooting 600mm hand held, thank goodness for image stabilization.

The one I sent you was the best of the lot. And that’s a tree, not a cloud.”

This was then followed up by an e-mail to me about a moon photo that someone had posted to Capture Dallas…
“Have you seen the moon shot posted by C. F.? Absolutely tack sharp, taken by the same camera I have, 1/500 second at f10 and ISO 100, only 200mm, so he cropped it a LOT, and it’s so totally much more sharp than mine. I just don’t know how he got that shot with those settings. He should have gotten a black frame. And, he didn’t get it in Photoshop, I ‘shopped mine as much as possible.

I’m beginning to wonder if there’s something wrong with my camera. I so often don’t get the sharpness others get, with me being really careful of settings. Or, maybe he was using a lens with one of those HUGE front-ends, collecting far more light than I can. Or maybe I just don’t know what I’m doing. Your expert comments would be so welcome.”

Of course that e-mail sent me scurrying to see what she was talking about. Now, I am by no means an expert and will never, ever profess to be so. I love photography and am trying to learn to do better one day and one image at a time. After checking out C.F.’s image, which was excellent, I sent her this e-mail in return…

“Just checked it out and it is excellent! He did crop it a lot but in looking at the settings and knowing that yours was hand held, and you used a slower shutterspeed at extreme magnification of 600mm with a much higher ISO… I think that could account for the difference. A lot too depends on the quality of the lens being used. Now the test would be to put your camera on a tripod and use his settings in manual and then reshoot the moon and see how different it might look. The moon is actually very bright and our camera is tricked into thinking it is not, due to all the dark sky and then tries to compensate for that. I think manual is the only way to go. I actually had to get my “destructions” out to be sure I was setting it correctly in manual before I went out.”

I have a 2x teleconverter but never use it as it always seems to degrade my image, and I certainly don’t need any help to do that!
And all lenses are not created equal! That’s why you can buy a particular lens for several hundred dollars and the same focal length lens for thousands of dollars. The quality of the lens will effect the quality of the final image. But then again, unless you are using such a lens to make a living, there is little sense in spending $5,000-10,000 on the latest and greatest. Yes, photography can be a money pit.
Well, the e-mails did not end there.

Crazy Woman Robin responds…

“Thanks for all your thoughts. I usually do aperture-priority, and I think that’s what I was doing with those hand-held shots. I wouldn’t have selected 1/50th manually. The lens should be rock-solid, it’s a full-format, considered pro-quality. The doubler should be, too. They’re both Tamron SP, their top shelf.
Moon comes up later tonight. I’m hoping for a do-over in the drive (faces ESE) and see what I get. Another thing I noticed is that his was at almost 11:00, so much less atmosphere to shoot through. Less distortion that time of night, but how did he get that beautiful yellow cast, usually overhead is much more monochrome.

If I get something I’ll let you know. If not, I’ll slither back under my point-n-shoot rock. Again, thanks so much.”


“Oh, funny, when I hit ‘send’ and spell check kicked in, it wanted my lens to be a Tampon.”

And my response was: “OMG!!! LMAO!!! You gave me all of that information just to find out the problem was that you were shooting with a tampon!!!! Ooooooooo Robin… you are a CRAZY WOMAN!!!!!!!!!!”

Thank you Robin for letting me share this little ditty with the crazies! We are all on a quest for the best image we can get and I absolutely love the comical spin you put on it all!

I will direct you to the image she was referring to on Capture Dallas and then post her image. And what I thought were clouds in the sky around the moon was actually a tree!

Thanks Chuck for your great image to give the crazy women some food for thought, but I’m about certain that poor Robin will never be the same! If you have any words of wisdom, I’m sure she would love to hear it.
Here is Chuck’s image:

And here is Robin’s Super Moon!

Robin's Super Moon (Photo by Crazy Woman Robin)

Robin’s Super Moon
(Photo by Crazy Woman Robin)

Thanks Robin! So great having you in the club and looking forward to all the crazies meeting you!


Super Moon 2013

It seems there has been a lot of hype over the “super moon” on June 22-23, 2013 and quite frankly, I do think it is a lot of hype, but nonetheless, it is a good reason to go out and try to shoot it! Lorraine has gotten a wonderful moon shot previously which I will also post and Merrie has done well too in the past but wanted to try again, but “yours truly” has up until now only gotten a non-descript speck in the sky with no detail, so this time I was determined to do better.

To read about my quest for a proper moon shot, please refer to my personal photo blog:

I will repost the photos here to share.

Basically, I think we forget that the moon is actually very bright, after all, it is reflecting the sun, but when you point the camera to a large expanse of dark sky, your camera exposure meter misreads the situation and tries to make the black a medium tone of gray; thereby, blowing out any details in the moon, thus, ruining the shot. And unless you are shooting through a telescope, your moon is not going to look like much unless you use the longest lens you have, stabilize it on a tripod, shoot in manual exposure setting your ISO 100-200, shutterspeed about 1/125 and an F-stop of 11-14. These are just beginning settings and you can veer away from this as necessary. And then… you will still need to crop your image to get a sizable moon.

And when you try to include something else in your photo, that is another issue unto itself. I was simply trying to get a shot of the moon that showed some detail with relative sharpness.

I took many shots and they all looked about the same, so I chose one and paired it with this quote that I very much like.

Super Moon 2013 (Photo by Fay/Lala)

Super Moon 2013
(Photo by Fay/Lala)

To my surprise, this one did win Photo of the Day on Capture Dallas.

By the way, if you click on any of the photos on the blog, you can see a larger version.

Now this is a moon shot that Lorraine got back in December, and I think it was her first attempt!! Great job, Lorraine!
Her settings were: ISO 125, 300mm, F-11, 1/125 sec. on manual.

Full Moon in December 2012 (Photo by Lorraine)

Full Moon in December 2012
(Photo by Lorraine)

I got an e-mail from Merrie asking about how best to shoot the moon and I shared my starting settings with her advising her to shoot in manual and on a tripod, and this is what she got.
From right clicking on her e-mailed photo and checking properties and then “detailed”, I can tell you that she was shooting with an ISO 125, at 300mm, F-11 and a shutter speed of 1/125 sec.
Merrie's Moon (Photo by Merrie)

Merrie’s Moon
(Photo by Merrie)

This is the cropped image that I did in Lightroom, but keep in mind, it was cropped from a resized image, not the full resolution image.
Merrie's Moon Cropped (Photo by Merrie)

Merrie’s Moon Cropped
(Photo by Merrie)

Now I pulled this cropped image back into Lightroom and gave it a little more brightness, clarity and contrast and this was the adjusted image.
Merrie's Edited Moon

Merrie’s Edited Moon

Vickie also sent me a moon and I will include it here. Interestingly enough, I was unable to get her shooting data when I right clicked. If anyone knows why… can you help me out. Can this be turned off in the camera?
Vickie's Moon (Photo by Vickie)

Vickie’s Moon
(Photo by Vickie)

And imagine my thrill of also getting one from Lily!
It was so good to hear from her again and let me share her image.
Edited Super Moon (Photo by Lily)

Edited Super Moon
(Photo by Lily)

Now I am assuming that this has been edited because on her image I did see about 5 “edits” written and we know that Lily does so well with photoshop, and I am hoping she can answer a question that was posed to me.

Vickie had asked how she could get her moon “yellow”. Well, the moon I was seeing was not yellow and had very little color at all. And Lily’s moon has a lot of sepia like toning. So Lily… can you share with us what you did to get this image so that we all may learn. I was also not able to pull up your settings and maybe you might help with that question too! And as you can see, we were all shooting the same moon and yet, they do all look a bit different.

And now for my rendition of a “Super Moon”…

Super Moon Rising at Lake Ray Hubbard (Photo by Fay/Lala)

Super Moon Rising at Lake Ray Hubbard
(Photo by Fay/Lala)

Please stay tuned as I will be posting an hysterical exchange with Robin… you know, “the other Robin” about her moon shot!!