The moon is generally taken for granted since we know it’s going to show up in the sky each night in one form or another, such as a half or full moon. We see it night after night in a variety of crescent shapes. However, it’s hard to get a good photo of the moon with a simple point-and-shoot digital camera. Sure, you’ll capture an image of it, but it won’t be very detailed. Instead, it will more or less look just like a ball of light.
You will be able to get some great shots of it though as long as you use the right camera equipment. This will enable you to capture the mood, and mystery of the moon and also some of its surface details. To get some good images you’ll need to use a DSLR camera, a tripod, a remote control or shutter-release cable, and a zoom lens that comes with at least a 300 mm focal length. You could also use a tele-converter to zoom in closer.
You’ll definitely need to use a DSLR camera since you need a big lens. Point-and-shoots aren’t able to fill in the frame with a big enough image of the moon to get good shots of it. The minimum size of the lens should be 300mm. If you want the moon to look bigger in your shots then you can use a bigger lens such as 500mm or 800mm. These can be pretty expensive to buy, but you may be able to rent one for about $50 a day or a little cheaper.
In addition, if you use a tele-converter, you won’t need to rent or buy a bigger lens as this piece of equipment will be able to increase the focal length of your lens. It costs quite a bit less and attaches to your lens. The most common type of tele-converter will double your lens’ focal length. Therefore, your 300 mm lens can be increased to 600 mm. Also, you can use more than one of these devices if you want to zoom in even closer.
The only problem with using a bigger lens to get your shots is that they are usually pretty hard to hold still to get sharp photos. This is why you’ll need to use a tripod as well. Another good accessory when taking shots of the moon is the remote shutter release. This will enable you to take the photo without having to push down the camera’s shutter release. Pushing the release on the camera can sometimes cause it to shake or move, even if you’re using a tripod.
If you want specific images of the moon, such as a full moon, it’s a good idea to check out the calendar to see when this will take place. Many people like to take a series of moon shots when it’s in different states during the month. The moon actually moves quicker than you may realize, so after you’ve set everything up make sure it’s still in the frame where you want it to be.
It’s also important to make sure the exposure is right. The moon reflects quite a bit of light from the sun and the background is usually quite black. It’s a good idea to experiment a little bit and try out some exposure bracketing. If you take the photos in the camera’s RAW mode you’ll also be able to do some exposure adjusting with a good photo-editing software program.