I used a tripod and remote shutter release. ISO:1600, F/3.5, Exp 46". I expected the flare and halo, but the ghosted spheres surprised me. Can you tell me what caused this and how to adjusting my settings? Thank you
I'm going to guess... you have a filter on your lens. Probably a UV filter? In my experience, that's the number one cause of ghosting in nighttime photography.
Exposing the moon for 46 seconds is an EXTREMELY long time. The moon is going to track across the sky during that whole time, creating a trail as it goes. Unless you have a tracking mount (either alt/az, which will track accurately for short periods of time, or a German equatorial, which will track for indefinite amounts of time), you can, at most, expose for about 1 second or so before the moon will start to blur due to its motion across the sky (both imparted by the rotation of the earth, as well as the motion of the moon on its orbit around the earth.) The length of time you can expose will also shrink as your focal length increases.
Additionally, if you are using a lens with image stabilization, you should make sure that IS/VR has kicked in before you actually trigger the shutter. If you have IS enabled, and fully trigger the shutter without giving IS a moment to kick in first, you will often get a ghost due to IS activating while the shutter is open. This is a fairly mild effect, however, compared to what it sounds like you are describing.
I suspect what's happening is one of the following things.
- Lens flare. This occurs usually when you have a bright source of light off to a side, and makes some usually hexagonal shaped images appear in your light, as seen below. The cure is to keep the light from said external sources from reaching your lens, and to keep your lens clean. Using a lens hood is usually a good idea.
- It could be dust on your sensor or lens. Cleaning each of these is the solution.
I really do like the way your picture turned out. I'm guessing that it is dust in some way or another, so I'd start there. Good luck!
The moon is a very bright object. Your image seems to be waaaay too exposed for capturing details on the moon.
EDIT: seeing your posted image now, I believe that the "ghost" spheres are lens flare due to extremely brightly exposed moon, and maybe a nearby star.
Well it looks like you've said that you did a 46 second exposure. If thats true, the moon moves much to fast for that slow of an exposure. You'll need to make your shutter speed faster.
You've got at least two different things going on in this image.
At ISO 1600 and f/3.5, 46 seconds is WAY too long an exposure for the moon. To get details of the Moon's surface I start at ISO 200, f/8, and 1/125 second. That is 12 stops faster than your exposure! The moon is 4,000 times too bright for your exposure setting. The green orb in the middle appears to be lens flare.
The brightest sources in your photo are causing ghosting. This is an inverted and reversed reflection caused by light reflecting off the surface of your sensor (actually the IR filter covering your sensor) or a rear lens element, bouncing back forward through the lens, and then reflecting off a poorly coated rear surface of a forward optical element. Using non-coated UV or protective filters at night when there are a few sources of bright light in the picture will almost always cause ghosting. In your case, the purple orb appears to be a reflection of the moon in the opposite quadrant at the same distance from the center of the frame.
Here is an example of ghosting that is easy to see because the pattern of bright lights is near the upper left edge of the frame and the obvious reflection is inverted and reversed in the lower right quadrant.