08 September 2014

Harvest Supermoon

Or is it a Super Harvest Moon? I need a more stable tripod head for my heavy 500mm lens. I have a ball-and-socket head, and it creeps a bit even after I tightened it; plus it's hard to focus the 500mm lens, so I had a tough time getting the image as sharp as I wanted. I tried a number of different combinations of settings to eliminate camera shake, let in enough light, and get a depth of field that would give me a sharper image. I ended up settling on this one taken at f/10, 1/500 sec, and ISO 200. It's my best moonshot yet. Makes a big difference having a lens that really works with my camera! If you recall, the last moon photo that I posted had an interesting story with it, about a lens that didn't fit the camera.

1 comment:

Rosie Perera said...

Further details in response to my Facebook post of this image after people asked me questions:

Yes, it is harder than it seems. My first several attempts came out with just a solid white disc. I realized it was a combination of overexposure and not being in focus. Had to work at it for about half an hour tweaking settings to get this shot.

I used a Sigma 150-500mm f/5-6.3 lens, zoomed all the way to 500. I tried my 2x extender but it didn't fit the mount. So even at 500mm which is quite a long lens, I got a tiny moon in the middle of a large background of black and had to crop it like mad. Getting the details I did on such a small image was amazing.

Normally at 500mm, it is impossible to auto-focus this lens, as there isn't enough light coming in. But the moon is really rather bright, so in the end I switched to auto-focus and that worked. I was unable to focus it well enough manually on such a small distant object. My glasses aren't perfect, and I couldn't tell whether I had the diopter on my camera set ideally. So it's a good thing the auto-focus worked.

I used the 10 second self-timer so that my movement of pressing the shutter release button would have dampened already by the time the shutter released.

It still could be crisper, so I'm thinking I need a more stable tripod head for my next attempt. The one I have is a ball-and-socket style one, and it creeps a bit with a very heavy lens on it. I took it back inside and tightened the screw on it last night but it still wasn't holding perfectly still, and that makes a big difference with a 500mm lens, even at 1/500 of a second. Every jiggle is magnified.


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