PDF How to Photograph the Moon and Planets with Your Digital Camera

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You'll probably have to get the instruction book out, and you might want to practice in daylight when a daytime moon is in the sky, but once you understand the adjustments it should be easy. Fortunately, most settings on digital cameras are displayed on a backlit, digital display that's easy to see Once you've mastered the adjustments and mechanics of your camera for nighttime use, make sure you have a sturdy tripod.

You're going to need some telephoto ability to pull this off. A zoom lens on your camera can work, or a separate telephoto that you can purchase. The Lens. Lenses are measured in millimetres. This measurement defines the focal length which determines how distant or close objects appear. A 50 millimetre lens is often called a "normal" lens because it shows you things through the view-finder that are the same size you see with your eyes. A lens with a smaller number such as a 35mm lens is often referred to as a wide angle lens. Here are some common lens types and their focal lengths.

For Lunar photography you have two choices. Either shoot with the longest focal length you have and use photo-software to crop, enlarge and enhance the photo or use a dedicated telephoto lens to fill the frame as much as possible with the moon. If you have or are considering the purchase of a telephoto lens for shots that would include the moon, a mm telephoto lens would do nicely.

They are available in higher focal lengths up to mm and more, but a lens with that kind of power would be very expensive and somewhat limited for any other use on land unless you plan to spend a lot of time photographing Polar Bears in the Arctic. However, you could get by with a mm telephoto which is fairly standard on zoom lenses available on many digital cameras. Some zoom up to mm.

The key with any photo of the moon is overall exposure relative to aperture and shutter speed. Avoid using the automatic exposure setting on your camera. It will average the field of view and you will either have a photo that is over or underexposed.


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Bracketing involves opening up or stopping down the aperture of your camera. If your spot meter indicates an exposure of f16, take another photo at f22 and a third stopped down to f Because you're working with a digital camera you'll be able to get a sense for the result immediately.

You could also try stopping down or opening up the aperture beyond the standard 3 brackets. After all, digital cameras don't require you to pay for film processing and you can always delete the shots that you don't like. The time of exposure isn't a factor with a bright object like the moon compared to dim, deep-space objects, comets and planets. In fact, for those situations you're probably best served by a telescope with a motor drive and the camera accessories mentioned at the beginning.

Step 2: Setup

With the moon and a digital SLR camera you'll have your photo in a snap. Get Creative. However, you could take advantage of the earth's rotation and simple click off exposures at timed intervals. This will give you a progressive series of shots tracking the moon's movement across the sky in an on-going series.

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This will give you the ability to re-create great shots from the past, and track your learning over time. It's what you would do if you were using a scope with camera mounts and a motor-drive, and it's a good practice even for a simple setup.


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Photo Software. Finally, you might want to use some digital photo-editing software. This can be as simple as using the software included on many computers for photo editing, or you can invest in programs like Adobe Photoshop. One of the first things you'll want to do is crop your photo.

If you've shot the moon low on the horizon and captured the ocean, trees or other environmental foreground elements you can work on your overall composition. If you caught the moon high in the sky you might want to use cropping simply to enlarge the image. You can also use filters in the software to adjust contrast, colour saturation and chroma. It's easy to experiment until you see the desired result. You can also blend bracketed photos to create more texture and detail.

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How to Photograph the Moon and Planets with Your Digital Camera

Description Since the advent of astronomical CCD imaging it has been possible for amateurs to produce images of a quality that was attainable only by universities and professional observatories just a decade ago. However, astronomical CCD cameras are still very expensive, and technology has now progressed so that digital cameras - the kind you use on holiday - are more than capable of photographing the brighter astronomical objects, notably the Moon and major planets. Tony Buick has worked for two years on the techniques involved, and has written this illustrated step-by-step manual for anyone who has a telescope of any size and a digital camera.

The color images he has produced - there are over of them in the book - are of breathtaking quality.

Lunar photography

His book is more than a manual of techniques including details of how to make a low-cost DIY camera mount and examples; it also provides a concise photographic atlas of the whole of the nearside of the Moon - with every image made using a standard digital camera - and describes the various lunar features, including the sites of manned and robotic landings.

Product details Format Paperback pages Dimensions Other books in this series. Nonlinear Control Systems Alberto Isidori.

The Complete Guide to Astrophotography: 89 Great Tips

Add to basket. ConclusionAppendices show more. Review quote Buick, an experienced amateur astronomer, uses his own images I enjoyed this book, and learned from it too. Rating details. Book ratings by Goodreads. Goodreads is the world's largest site for readers with over 50 million reviews.