Monday, November 10, 2008

Larger Moon without using Photoshop!

I get a lot of questions about how I make moons appear larger then they really are in my photos. Anyone that has Photoshop can show you how to do this. However, the image I posted here came right out of the camera and no post processing software was used. Here is how I did it:

Most of the newer Nikon DSLR cameras have a feature in the Shooting Menu called Multiple Exposure. On the D3 and D300 you can take up to 10 exposures and overlay them in the camera. Kind of like you used to be able to do it in film cameras by reseting the shutter and reexposing.

For this image, I took two exposures at dusk, one to properly expose Morro Rock and the other to add the moon. The moon was actually a little higher in the sky than shown here. I used my 70-300mm lens for both exposures. The first was at 110mm - 1/15 sec @ f4.5 - I used in-camera metering to determine these settings. Then I switched to Manual, zoomed the lens out to 300mm and dialed in 1/125 sec @ f4.5. I then focused on the moon and recomposed the shot so that the moon was in the upper right quadrant and took the second exposure.

I got away without a tripod this time, but you may want to use one just to make sure everything is sharp. Also, I have had success at dusk but you may have trouble at other times during the day or night - since you really need the moon to stand out in a dark starless field of view and long exposures may add star trails which detract from the final result. The easy part is the moon, very bright and you can underexpose it a little and still get good results.

Give it a try and let me know how it works! Leave a message below to share your experience.

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