Shooting the Moon

First Quarter Moon

Astrophotography has not been easy these last 4 or 5 months. The British weather has been particularly challenging for those who photograph the skies.

For those who live on the south and west coasts, the weather has been better, but for me in the landlocked middle of England, it’s not been good. 

There has only been a handful of clear night since last September and some of those have been near to full Moon, which is useless for most astrophotography. 

Late the other afternoon as the sun was setting, I managed to capture the Moon. This image has been made by stacking a handful of images together, which produces a better final image with more detail.

There are two common mistakes made by many photographing the Moon for the first time. The Moon is small – it is about half a degree across (30 arc minutes). For a full frame camera, you need at least 600mm focal length to get a reasonable sized image. For an APS-C size sensor, a 400mm lens will achieve a similar result. The other issue is the Moon is very bright. A first quarter Moon may only need 1/500s exposure, possibly less.  

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