Thursday, March 20, 2014

Full Moon Rising

Getting shots of a full moon seems to be a popular pastime with us hobbyist photographers. Turns out it's harder than you think, and can be pretty darn frustrating! The dilemma is you can either expose for the moon, which is so bright that everything else in the photo will be black. Option two is to expose for the foreground, but then you lose all detail of the moon. Here's an example of last weekend's full moon where I exposed for the foreground. See how the moon has no detail? It was actually a really beautiful moon between the tree branches, but I've lost all that detail because of my exposure settings.
Shots where you focus precisely on the moon (spot focus mode) give you great moon definition, but nothing else!! The foreground totally disappears into blackness.
Of course, one solution is photo editing. You can try to lighten the foreground and darken the moon. Even better is layering two photos on top of each other, one exposed for the moon and the second exposed for the foreground. Since the camera is on a tripod, the layers should line up perfectly. Still another option is, instead of layering, just "copy and paste" the moon from your photo that has the proper moon exposure to the photo with the foreground exposure. I used this technique for the two photos below. This young couple strolled out of the Summit House Restaurant in Fullerton to admire the full moon rising on the horizon. I was in the process of taking a moon shot, so I left my camera in place and made multiple exposures.
Ditto for this shot using my new fisheye lens. You can see the detail of both the fountain and the beautiful full moon, which is pretty much what your eye is seeing when you take the photo!
So when you see shots with both good moon detail and foreground detail, you know there must have been some post-processing magic going on! Linking up with Skywatch Friday. Click on the link to check out really great skies from around the world!


27 comments:

  1. If your photos were graded from one to ten, ten being the best score, in my humble opinion, you would get a 10 for effort. Can it get any better than this? I don't think so. You certainly understand what you are doing and investigate other ways to bring images to post for us to see. Great job!
    JM Illinois

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  2. That fish-eye shot is stunning. 10:10 for perseverance, persistence and patience! Thanks for sharing and for dropping by my blog.

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  3. Gorgeous moon-photos! The last one is absolutely stunning!

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  4. How clever you are! Your photos are excellent!
    Thanks for sharing!

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  5. Thanks, a nice little tutorial that and great photos to go along with it.

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  6. Great shots. I like them especially the shots with the yellow lamp light against the dark blue night sky. Thanks for showing.

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  7. I enjoyed this post very much. Your photos are great! Although I liked them all, I thought the fish-eye shot was fantastic.

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  8. Hi, I really like your Blog's header. Great looking caravan and set-up amidst fabulous scenery. You would have some wonderful moments to experience being there.
    I've very much enjoyed reading about the moon and exposure, and have experienced the very same results. There are times when the full moon is surrounded by mystic moving clouds, and the light play is beautiful... but I can either have the clouds and a small bright orb, or the moon and no clouds. Now I understand what layering achieves. Thank you. The 'cut and paste' option I had not read about before, certainly gives an interesting effect.

    The first photo may have not included the Moon's details, but the overall effect is beautiful, and to me, the way the moon glows complements the foreground lighting,

    The Moon by itself is of course wonderful... the moon always is I feel, and the couple gazing up at the moon... well to me you have managed to include the emotion of those people. That's really nice.

    Then the fisheye result... stunning. An awesome photo.

    Thanks for visiting, has been a pleasure to be here.

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  9. Wonderful shots with a great explanation.
    Thanks for sharing and enjoy your weekend.

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  10. All these shots are beautiful. I absolutely love the last one!! And the explanation for it all was great too.Have a blessed day and happy shooting!

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  11. Love the moon shots, and that fountain photo is fabulous!!!!!! Mickie :)

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  12. Lovely moon shot,love the last one most.

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  13. Great shots! That last one is very cool. Very creative.

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  14. I have not tried that layering technique yet, but you illustrated just how effective it is!

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  15. All wonderful shots, love the fisheye shot the best!

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  16. Amazing photos :) Have never seen moon so closely. Loved 2nd and 4th the most.

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  17. A fabulous and instructive post. Thanks.

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  18. So good of you to give the info and I know you are going to have great times and photos with the fisheye lens.

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  19. You really have the moon magic going on...(I think it's brilliance and talent instead of magic, which is why it will never work for me!). Beautiful work.

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  20. Thanks for sharing your secrets with us and thanks for visiting my sky. Enjoy the week!

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  21. great photos and explanations about moon photos, it is not easy but sure does look effective

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  22. Wow! Those are wonderful photos!

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