How can I photograph the moon so that I see detail of the craters and mountains?
I have a Canon EOS 550D (T2i) and tried "No Flash", "P" as well as creative auto mode, but to no avail. Every time I get a completely white moon.
I had exactly the same problem when I first tried to photograph the moon: all I ever got was an overexposed white circle.
The answer is that the moon is much brighter than you realise. Also, unless you have a very telescopic lens, it's going to be pretty small in your photo. If you use one of the camera's automatic modes, the camera will try to get the "right" exposure for a scene made up of lots of black sky and a tiny bit of moon. The "lots of black sky" wins out, the camera brightens the exposure, and you lose the detail in the moon.
The best way to capture the moon is therefore to use Manual mode. This isn't as difficult as it sounds:
Now try a shot and see how it looks. If it's too bright, keep reducing the shutter speed until you start to see the detail of the craters. If you've somehow under-exposed it, just do the opposite: try a slower shutter speed, a smaller aperture or a lower ISO setting.
The main thing is ignore what the camera is telling you! It'll be flashing away like crazy saying your shot is going to be too dark, but just ignore it. We know the sky will be "too dark", but it's the moon we're after. Fold away your targeting computer, Luke. Use the Force.
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I have taken a few years to perfect my moon shots. Many nights stood out in the cold!! On the months where the full moon is not obscured by cloud!!
Here is what I do:
When you are finished:
Here are a couple of shots I have taken using the method above. I know it seems a lot, but it really isn't, and you get some good stuff...
It is also true from one of the posters above that to get the best 'shadows' effect you should not shoot a totally full moon, but just either side of it. (See shots 2 and 3 above).
I hope that helps you....
Also, be sure to shoot RAW. Get the moon exposure correct and you can then try Fill Light to see if that brings out details. Or you can use HDR techniques to accomplish the same. (And resist the urge to go all cartoon on the image, please?)
I wish I could remember what I did for this shot. It is in my HDR folder but I only have 1 TIFF and I can't find the RAW. So I could have done any number of things. It was either Photoshop (this dates from before I had Lightroom) or as a single image HDR from Photomatix. But, will all said and done, you need a good image to start with.
The EXIF data tells me 75mm (on a Canon crop body 40D), 1/125 sec, f5. Since I have that in the EXIF I'm pretty sure it was single image, not multi-image HDR.
Oh, and multi image HDR with the moon is difficult if you are not using a wide angle lens, the moon moves FAST in the sky.