Moon is a beautiful body in our solar system. Its various phases are so picturesque that one often feels to capture its beauty with a camera. Capturing moon is not easy at it sounds & more often you will get nothing but a white orb if you don’t know the right technique to capture the moon. In this guide I’ll explain intricately to get a perfect moon shot which will elicit ‘wows’ from your friends & colleagues.
Zoom/Focal Length – As most of us own a simple, point & shoot camera we are limited with the amount of zoom. Don’t expect to see the craters of moon in your shots as seen on shots from the hubble telescope. You’ll most probably use the entire optical zoom offered by your camera unless you want to include surrounding objects too.
Focus – The moon being a small bright object will most likely confuse the auto focusing system of camera. In this case I advise to set the focus to manual & then set it to focus on infinity. If your camera doesn’t offers manual focus then you will have a hard time locking focus on the moon. Try refocusing till auto focus locks on.
Shutter Speed/Exposure – Shutter speed required in case of moon is generally a stop or two down over perfect exposure. This is since the moon is so far away & bright setting perfect exposure will blow it away i.e. Overexpose. So it is recommended to underexpose the moon to bring out the minutest details of the moon surface.
Aperture – Aperture doesn’t plays far too significant role in our example of moon shot. I have experimented and found mid values to be generally good over the extremes. My camera has maximum aperture of F 2.8 & minimum aperture of F 8.0. Here I use aperture value of F 4.0.
ISO – The ISO should be set to lowest possible. Since your frame will include a lot of dark night sky then bumping up the ISO levels will bring in more noise. So find a perfect balance of ISO based on Shutter Speed & Aperture.
Metering Mode – Since our subject, the moon is a small distant object surrounded by dark sky we need to use ‘Spot Metering’. Spot metering will ensure that our dark sky is well exposed keeping in consideration our small bright moon.
# Get camera on Tripod. A tripod is a must for absolute stability though you may get decent shutter-speed to take a handhold shot.
# Engage a self-timer in addition to tripod, so you do not shake camera during exposure.
# Switch off the Image Stabilization/Vibration Reduction on your camera when using a tripod.
# Try something different. Not all moon shots have to be straight on. Include a structure or frame the moon in branches of the trees. This would make your shots more interesting.