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Photographing the Moon is a blog post from the Miscellaneous category.

Photographing the Moon

Posted by Will on

On this day, 40 years ago, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first human beings to set foot on the surface of the moon. To celebrate the anniversary of this incredible achievement, we have decided to post a few of our favourite lunar photographs.

Full Moon

Eiffel Tower

The moon can often add an additional dimension to an otherwise normal photograph. Recently I was visiting the Eiffel Tower in Paris when I noticed the moon rising above the city. I moved into a position where I could photograph the Eiffel Tower with the moon behind. I took a bracketed sequence of shots and then combined them as an HDR image so that I could balance out the illuminated tower with the moonlit clouds and the streetlights below.

Eiffel Tower

Lunar Eclipse

On 3rd/4th March 2007, we were lucky to be in the right place at the right time; watching a total lunar eclipse under a clear night sky. We set up our 400mm f/2.8 lens and stacked a 1.4x and a 2x teleconverter to give us a focal length of 1,120mm! Camera shake was amplified at this huge focal length, so to minimise vibrations we used a shutter release cord and set the camera to “mirror lock-up” mode. Mirror lock-up raises the mirror in the camera early and therefore reduces vibrations when the shot is taken (putting your camera into “live view” mode would also achieve this). At this focal length the moon travelled surprisingly fast across the viewfinder so we need a shutter speed of at least 0.6s to get the moon sharp (note that serious astro-photographers would have used a tracking mount to move the camera at the same rate as the Earth’s rotation).

Red Moon during a Lunar EclipseLunar Eclipse

During the height of the eclipse, the moon goes red as the only light reaching it has to travel through the Earth’s atmosphere. The moon also becomes much dimmer so we had to push the camera all the way up to ISO 1600 to capture the phenomenon. You can see the full gallery showing the progression of the lunar eclipse here.

Moon Beam

This is an experimental photograph that we took last year in Botswana. There was a lot of dust in the air so the moon was not very bright. This allowed us to take a long exposure of the moon as it ascended without the shot completely blowing out. The resulting image looks like something out of Independence Day – a beam of light coming from an alien spacecraft!

Moon rise

10 Comments

  1. Ziggy said: July 20, 2009 at 12:02 pm

    Hey I love the Eiffel Tower guys! What an awesome image. Haunting and somehow supernatural…? Does that make sense? Such beautiful clarity for a night time shot. The blue light ispearing out seems to beam out of the top of the picture into the writing above it. Your hard work paid off. I have to say I think it deserved to be the Photo of the Day, although the moonbeam is pretty fascinating. Great work, thank you very much for sharing your experiments with us.

  2. Planet Lover said: July 20, 2009 at 12:55 pm

    These pictures are spectacular! What a nice way to celebrate the 40th anniversary of that extraordinary moment. Forty years ago, my husband and I took our newborn daughter to a friend’s house (we didn’t own a television) to witness this great event. Thank you!

  3. Kate Day said: July 20, 2009 at 1:27 pm

    Lovely post guys, thanks for this, particularly for the description of photographing the eclipse.

  4. Wanda Krack said: July 20, 2009 at 2:02 pm

    You’re so very lucky to have each other to share the interest in photography!! Wonderful shots and thaks for sharing them!! Best of luck with your photography!

  5. mike said: July 21, 2009 at 5:56 am

    I love the Eiffel tower picture. I love all pictures of the Moon.

  6. Jason said: August 18, 2009 at 12:47 pm

    Wow that last moon shot is amazing! How long was the exposure for that photo?

  7. Steve said: August 25, 2009 at 2:10 pm

    Hats off to you for the moon shot. Very unique.

  8. Jeremy said: November 27, 2009 at 11:26 pm

    Hey guys!
    Don’t know if you remember me, I was managing Little Mombo when you visited last year and remember this shot well, looks good on the big screen. Been following your photography from time to time and you’re doing some amazing stuff. I left Mombo at the end of April this year to do some travelling and am in Slovenia at the moment.
    Enjoy!

  9. Vicki @ iPritn Images Photography said: May 6, 2010 at 9:59 am

    I love this photography. I was inspired recently by the Wonders of the solar system BBC programme to start photographing the moon & stars. Really inspirational stuff.

    iPrint Images – Vicki Bruce Photographer

  10. Millie James said: May 12, 2010 at 5:09 am

    The moonbeam shot is incredible… absolutely awesome ! !

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