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14 Tips for Shooting the Moon

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One of the first words I learned how to say was, “Moon.” All of my life, I have been fascinated by our natural satellite and I have been photographing it for as long as I have had a camera. My photos have gotten better over the years, but I still search for the perfect photo of the moon. Here are some tips and thoughts for your own lunar photography.

Above photograph: A waxing gibbous moon the day before the full moon. Fujifilm X-T1; Leica APO-Televid 77 spotting scope @ 1000mm (1500mm, 35mm equivalent); f/13, 1/500-second, ISO 200

All photographs ©Todd Vorenkamp

Moonrise over Ensenada, Mexico, at the end of the Newport-Ensenada sailboat race. The full moon rose the next night. Nikon D1x; Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 lens @ 150mm (225mm, 35mm equivalent); f/5.0, 1/100-second, ISO 400

1. Plan your shot

There are two basic types of lunar photography:
1. the moon is the main (or only) object in the image,
2. the moon is an element of a landscape image.

A waxing gibbous moon captured. The slight softness is likely a combination of a teleconverter and relatively slow shutter speed caused by the fixed f/22 aperture. Nikon D300; Leica APO-Televid 77 spotting scope with a Nikon Tc-201 2x teleconverter @ 2000mm (3000mm, 35mm equivalent); f/27, 1/25-second, ISO 100 (should have been at ISO 200)

For the first, the main planning you will have to do is know the weather and the phase of the moon and have the right gear. (More on gear later.)

For the second, you need to engage in more extensive planning. Where do you envision the moon in your shot? When is it rising or setting? Again, what phase is it in? There is software, websites, and mobile applications that can help you track the moon’s position at a given location. Sometimes you may stumble on a lucky shot, but there are rewards for being prepared and planning an epic landscape featuring the moon overhead.

The waning gibbous moon sets over the Pacific Ocean, as viewed from Highway 101, in McKinleyville, California, at dawn the day following a full moon. Nikon D300; Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 lens @ 200mm (300mm, 35mm equivalent); f/8, 1/90-second, ISO 200

2. Moon phases

The majestic full moon is what grabs most people’s attention. Unfortunately, the full moon makes for the most boring lunar photos. Why? Because the entire disc of the moon is illuminated, you get a relatively low-contrast white disc overhead. When waxing toward a full moon, or waning following one, the partially illuminated moon reveals its wonderful texture of craters and their shadows. If you want to capture a “full moon,” photographically, you are better off the day before or after the true full moon period.

You can photograph the full moon, but many find that the lack of texture and shadow on the face of the moon makes the images less visually interesting than non-full moon photos. Nikon D1x; Nikon Reflex-NIKKOR 500mm f/8 with Tc-201 2x teleconverter; f/16, 1/500-second, ISO 125

Gibbous, quarter, and crescent moons all have their places in the world of photography and they can all be visually interesting and engaging. Don’t limit yourself only to when the moon is full.

The crescent moon is difficult to photograph due to the smaller reflecting visible surface area of the satellite. Two things are working in the photographer’s favor: 1. the sky is brighter when the crescent moon is overhead and, 2. today’s digital cameras are getting better and better, with high ISO images allowing faster shutter speeds that will help reduce motion blur and keep the crescent moon sharp. Fujifilm X-T1; Leica APO-77 Televid @ 1000mm (1500mm, 35mm equivalent); f/13, 1/4-second, ISO 400

3. Moon position

The position of the moon overhead is something to consider. If you are only photographing the moon, you’ll have a better chance at a sharp photo when it is overhead at its zenith. This is because when the moon is lower on the horizon, the light it reflects has to travel through greater distances of Earth’s atmosphere. Of course, if the moon is an element in your landscape photo, its position is critical to your image, regardless of its distance above the horizon.

The full moon rises over the Ocean House, in Watch Hill, Rhode Island. This photo was planned months in advance after I saw a watercolor painting of this scene. I would have preferred to shoot it the day before the full moon, but I could not be in the area until the next day. Fujifilm X-T1; Leica PC-Super-Angulon-R 28mm f/2.8 lens (42mm, 35mm equivalent); ½-second, f/4, ISO 200

4. Clouds

Clear nights are preferred by many photographers. But, on nights with scattered clouds, or thin overcast layers, do not be deterred from attempting to photograph the moon. There are times when cloudy skies can part or be penetrated by the moon and lead to great photographic opportunities.

A thin, overcast layer causes a halo to appear around the full moon prior to the December 21, 2010, lunar eclipse. The constellation Orion is in the lower right corner. Nikon D300; Nikon 20mm f/3.5 AI lens (30mm, 35mm equivalent); f/8, 15 seconds, ISO 200

5. Atmospheric turbulence

There are nights that, at first glance look crystal clear, but on closer inspection, are not. Air is not uniform in density. Because of this, we get twinkling stars overhead. That twinkling is caused by atmospheric turbulence and it can turn any ground-based lunar image into a not-so-sharp rendition of the moon.

The full moon rises over the San Diego skyline. Nikon D300; Nikon 80-200mm f/2.8 lens @ 112mm (168mm, 35mm equivalent); f/5.6, 1/90-second, ISO 200

6. Composition

When photographing the moon alone in the sky, the natural tendency is to center the moon in the image. If you dare, try to mix things up. Center the moon’s shadow if photographing a crescent moon. Use the Rule of Thirds. Rotate a quarter moon 90 degrees. As passengers on Spaceship Earth, we are used to the moon having a certain look and perspective. As a photographic artist, you are not restricted to that perspective.

Be flexible with your lunar compositions. Up and down on Earth does not have to match up and down on the moon. This horizontal waxing gibbous reminds me of the Apollo 8 Earthrise photo from lunar orbit. Nikon D300; Leica APO-Televid 77 spotting scope @ 1000mm (1500mm, 35mm equivalent); f/13, 1/100-second, ISO 100

7. Lens choice

If you are shooting the moon as part of a landscape, your lens focal length will be determined by what portions of the landscape you want in the frame. With a 50mm lens on a full-frame camera, the moon’s size in the photograph will resemble more or less what your eye sees in real life—it will be fairly small. When you go with a wide-angle lens, the moon will appear smaller in the frame.

A US Navy Boeing CH-46D Seaknight helicopter, Sideflare 65, prepares to land on the flight deck of the USS Rainier (AOE-7), in the Indian Ocean, with a waxing gibbous moon rising in the background. Nikon D100; Nikon 28-200mm f/3.5-5.6 lens @ 28mm (42mm, 35mm equivalent); f/7.1, 1/200-second, ISO 800

If you are shooting the moon alone, you can get pretty good results with a 200mm or 300mm lens, but to really fill the frame, you will likely want an even longer telephoto lens or you can use a teleconverter to extend a lens you already own.


135mm

300mm

750mm

1500mm

8. Tripod

With modern image-stabilization lenses, coupled with a fast shutter speed and noiseless higher ISO performance, it isn’t unreasonable to take a handheld photograph of a bright moon with a 300mm lens—or longer. Photographers using image-stabilized 2000mm super-zoom cameras have captured amazing handheld images of the moon.

You do not need expensive gear, heavy tripods, and big lenses to photograph the moon. This is a handheld image from a point-and-shoot super-zoom camera in automatic mode. Nikon COOLPIX P900; 357mm (2000mm 35mm-equivalent); f/6.5, 1/500-second, ISO 250

Minus some steady hands and some electronic luck, you will want to photograph the moon from a steady tripod to get the best results.

9. Mirror lock-up and remote release

When photographing the moon through long telephoto lenses, any amount of movement can soften the image. Therefore, use a remote shutter release (wired or wireless) and, on an SLR camera, use mirror lock-up to minimize vibrations.

Here is a waxing crescent moon, captured a day before the first quarter. Fujifilm X-T1; Leica APO-Televid 77 spotting scope @ 1000mm (1500mm, 35mm equivalent); f/13, 1/125-second, ISO 200

10. Exposure

There are no hard and fast rules for exposure for the moon because there are many variables. Some charts provide a baseline, but be ready to adjust as you work with your heavenly model above.

ISO Lets start here. When photographing a gibbous, quarter, or even a larger crescent moon in the sky by itself, there is often enough reflected sunlight to allow you to shoot at your camera’s native ISO. Even though you will likely be photographing the moon at night, remember that it is a relatively bright object and will not require higher and noisier ISO settings. More extreme crescent moons may require an ISO bump, as will handheld lunar photography.

For moon-in-landscape photos, you may need to adjust your ISO to help maintain a certain aperture or shutter speed.

Aperture Sharpness is the name of the game when photographing the moon. Because of this, shoot your lens at its sweet-spot aperture and adjust shutter speed and, then, ISO as needed. Shooting wide open may make the moon softer, as will diffraction from stopping the aperture down too much. Shoot in the sweet spot for whatever lens you are using.

If the moon is a part of a landscape, and you need shallow depth of field, by all means, shoot with wide apertures, but know the moon will not be sharp in those images.

Shutter Speed Short shutter speeds are used to freeze action. The moon orbits the Earth at approximately 2,290 miles per hour. That is fast. Luckily, because it is a mean distance of 238,855 miles, it doesn’t streak overhead at more than three times the speed of sound. However, it is moving, and shooting with a slow shutter speed will cause the moon to blur in your images. A good rule of thumb is to keep your shutter speed at a 1/125-second minimum.

The moon heads for the horizon over the Brooklyn Bridge, in New York City. Nikon Df; Tokina 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 30mm; f/8, 14 seconds, ISO 200

11. Metering

When you point the camera skyward to catch the moon, depending on the metering mode selected, the camera is going to take the inky black of space into account when exposing your image. You want to expose for only the moon because it doesn’t matter if the blackness of outer space remains black in your frame. Therefore, it is best to use center-weighted or spot metering to tell the camera to expose only for that really bright section of the frame.

The moon rises over a fog bank, in Kneeland, California. Fujifilm X-T1; Fujifilm 35mm f/1.4 lens (52mm, 35mm equivalent); f/5.6, 8.5 sec., ISO 200

12. Focus

Guess what? This is usually a part of lunar photography that isn’t challenging at all because the moon is bright and modern autofocus systems should have no problem locking good focus on the moon. For manual focus, use electronic focus guides, viewfinder prisms, and/or live view and focus peaking. 

Literally standing in a heavy fog bank in Northern California, I spotted this moon-bow behind me while waiting for a break in the fog. The colors of the moon-bow are not as vibrant as the sun’s rainbows, yet it is still a beautiful phenomenon. Focusing this image was far more difficult than focusing an image with the moon in the frame. Fujifilm X-T1; Fujifilm 14mm f/2.8 (21mm, 35mm equivalent); f/2.8, 60 seconds, ISO 200

13. Dynamic range

When shooting at night, the moon may very well be the brightest object in the frame. If you are including landscape in your image, it will be relatively much, much darker than the moon. This will make it difficult to properly expose the moon and still retain some detail in the landscape. This is why silhouetted landscapes are prevalent in images where the moon shows contrast and definition. The dynamic range of digital cameras is getting better all the time, but many lunar photographers use composite images, or allow the moon to go pure white to show the foreground.

A US Navy Boeing CH-46D Seaknight helicopter maneuvers above the ocean with a waxing gibbous moon overhead. Nikon D100; Nikon 28-200mm f/3.5-5.6 lens @ 98mm (147mm, 35mm equivalent); f/7.1, 1/750-second, ISO 800

14. Bracketing

Regardless of the type of moon photos (alone or landscape), you may want to try bracketing your exposures. Digital photography gives you the opportunity to take “free” photographs, so when you are photographing the moon, shoot a lot and shoot some more. In post processing, you will find that some photos are sharper than others taken with identical settings, due to atmospheric interference and other factors. Bracket or adjust your exposure to see if you get better results at different apertures or shutter speeds.

The Palomar Observatory under moonlight and a lot of digital noise. Nikon D100; Nikon 18-35mm f/3.5-4.5 lens @ 18mm (27mm, 35mm equivalent); f/3.5, 3 seconds, ISO 1600

My grandmother used to call it “Todd’s Moon,” but I will gladly share it with you. What other tips and techniques do you have for photographing the moon? Tell us in the Comments section, below!

Waning gibbous. Nikon D300; Leica APO-Televid 77 spotting scope @ 1000mm (1500mm, 35mm equivalent); f/13, 1/500-second, ISO 200

Stay tuned to B&H Photo’s Explora blog for more articles on astrophotography leading up to the total solar eclipse on August 21, 2017!

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I have had great luck with keeping it simple -- i.e. my Canon Powershot SX50 HS has been a great little camera for 'shooting the moon'.  I usually zoom out to the max in Auto, and alternate that with shooting in P mode at 200 ISO.  I am strictly an amateur photographer but have been pleased with my moon shots.  I especially love shooting the full moon low on the horizon as it sinks behind the trees.  The contrast of the tree limbs against the moon make a neat picture.  I live on the water on the Eastern Shore of MD, and also like photographing the moon far enough above the horizon the capture it reflected in the water.  As you said in your comments, trying to get landscape in the shot makes for a fuzzy moon.  You have some great tips that I plan to try.  Thank you!

Hey Susan,

Yeah, I might be jealous of you superzoom shooters! I have to break out the spotting scope, remove the eyepiece, attach the camera adapter, attach the camera, find the moon, focus and shoot. You just point and shoot! Yep, jealous!

I am glad you enjoyed the article. Thanks so much for the compliments and good luck shooting the moon!

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Fabulous article as always Todd!

Thank you, Karla! Glad you stopped by!

Any hint on White Balance?

Hey Mongkhol,

Thanks for that question. My answer: white balance is what you make of it. If I am shooting the moon in the sky alone I will generally put the white balance dropper (in Lightroom) on the lunar surface in a gray area. That usually removes any color cast. With the moon in a landscape, you can white balance the scene on the landscape, or the moon. It is really up to you.

Another trick? If you are only shooting the moon, you can switch to black and white. The moon is colorless, so black and white really isn't too unrealistic.

Thanks for the question and thanks for reading!

Use the Moony 11 rule to get a great picture of the moon with fantastic detail. This rule says to set the aperature to f/11, the ISO to whatever setting you want and to set the shutter speed to 1/ISO. You ignore the light meter reading. I set the aperature to f/11, the ISO to 400, and the shutter speed to 1/400 and get great, super detailed pictures every time. It does need to be dark outside when you take the shot.

That's what I have always done also.

You guys are way more advanced than I! Thanks for reading!

Thanks for sharing that trick, Jack! 

Why at some times shooting the moon I get a double exposure or ghostly appearance in my shot?

Hi Janis,

There might be a few possible reasons for your ghosting.

Sometimes I have gotten flare from the UV filter in front of my lens. The next time you see flare, unscrew your UV filter (if you are using one) and see if that solves the problem. Another culprit may be dirty optics. Make sure both the front and rear elements of your lens are clean. The last possibility would just be that your lens is prone to flare. Sometimes you can eliminate this by placing the moon dead center in the frame.

What kind of glass are you using?

Thanks for reading and thanks for your question!

I love this article!

I've been afflicted with lunar see for several years now and love shooting the full and crescent moon as it's rising or setting.

Some things I've learned

As other have said:
The earth rotates much faster than you'd expect so the moon changes position quite rapidly as you view it through a telephoto lens.  It's ever changing, so every day it will rise (or set) in a different location.

Apps such as LightTrac, The Photographer's Ephemeris (TPE) and PhotoPills help you know where to be and when to be there

It's important to know what the weather is like.  I often search for remote cameras to see if it's clear where I'm going.  The San Francisco Bay Area was socked-in during the recent transit of Mercury across the sun; the Mt. Tamalpais view cam showed it was clear at the peak, so we headed out from Berkeley and captured the transit after driving through the thick fog.

The most interesting moon is as it's close to the horizon and behind a landmark.  In the US, the moon travels south (or to the right) as it rises (might be different in the southern hemisphere; I'm not sure) so if you want to shoot the moon behind a landmark, prepare to move north (or to the left) as it rises.  Just think of the landmark as a "pivot" point to grasp the concept.

Nautical twilight is an ideal time to capture a yellow-orange moon against a cobalt blue sky.  The moon is still pale just before and after sunset; it's extraordinarily bright when the sun has long set, and it's difficult to expose for the moon without greatly underexposing the foreground.

Still trying to figure out the optimal distance and lens to use to capture a large moon with a distinct landmark (i.e. tower or bridge) in front of it.  I'll scour my photos to estimate that, but I'd guess that a 400-600 mm focal length and a distance of 1-3 miles could be a winning combination. 

If you're in the San Francisco Bay Area, Frederic Larson hosts a monthly full moon meetup.  He always knows where to be and when to be there and I always feel better taking moon photos when surrounded by like minded people.

http://www.meetup.com/northbayphotography/

My favorite moon photos here ... 

https://serkes.smugmug.com/NightLight/

https://serkes.smugmug.com/Moon

I often plan trips around the phases of the moon, and/or note where the moon will be when we're travelling.  That's how I captured moonrise of Algeria on our recent trip to the Moroccan desert.

http://serkes.smugmug.com/Morocco

I tend to prefer the telephoto shots of the moon with large depth of field over wide angle photos where the moon is small on the horizon.

Happy shooting!

Hi Ira,

First of all, awesome moon photographs! I absolutely love the SF Bay Bridge "V" shot. Amazing capture! Nice work!

It looks like you could have written this article for me! Great tips and experiences. Thanks for reading and taking the time to share your stuff!

Truly my pleasure ... I've learned so much from others I wanted to give back and help other photographers..

I'm now learning HDR B+W Photography as taught by Harold Davis (who happens to be a neighbor of mine)

https://www.flickr.com/photos/serkes/28112454653/in/album-72157670838661...

https://www.flickr.com/photos/serkes/28112455073/in/album-72157670838661...

https://www.flickr.com/photos/serkes/29371087914/in/dateposted-public/
 

Good stuff, Ira! Thanks again for sharing!

Great article. Seeing the moonbow shot reminded me of hearing some information about being able to pick up more color in the moonbow with adjustments being made. All the colors are there, just hard to capture.

Hey Pat,

Thanks for the comment! Yep, all the colors are there, but definitely subtle. When I post-process my images, I try to get the final image to look just like my mind's eye remembers the scene, therefore, I didn't crank the saturation up to illustrate the effect. Got to stay true, more or less, to what the eye sees!

Thanks for reading!

Good article.  I offer another trick:  to make the moon relatively bigger in an image that includes a foreground subject [without Photoshopping it], move further back from the foreground subject & use a longer focal length lens (or plan to crop more).

And this works best when the moon is closest to the horiizon,  Else as you move back, the moon moves relatively higher in the sky.

Great tips, Tom! 

I am not a fan of the post-processed moon composite photos, myself. So, a bit of planning (and luck) can go a long way to getting the Moon shot you want.

Thanks for reading and sharing your tips!

Very nice article and some great shots too.  

You covered the speed of the moon's movement but you didn't go too deep.  Up until I started photographing the moon I never realized how fast it moves.  I would get it in focus and centered in the view finder and it would move across the viewer in seconds,  I found it challenging because I was using an old heavy mirror lens and it had a touchy focus ring and I'd have to keep adjusting the tripod.  But after awhile I got the hang of it and got some decent shots.

I thought I'd mention for new people to bring along a flashlight and cover up the eye piece of the viewer if you are using the remote.

And most of all - patience,  patience,  patience.

Hi Arthur,

Thank you for the kind words!

Yep, the Moon is really moving pretty fast, especially when you are viewing it through a super telephoto lens, spotting scope, or telescope! I could have dove deeper into the relative speeds and such, but I have a word count limit (that I regularly exceed!). 

Good tips with the flashlight and viewfinder cover! Thanks for reading!

If you download TPS (The Photographer's Ephemeris) app (there is also a free desktop version) you will be able to tell when and where the sun/moon is rising/setting. As you scroll through the date you can see the movement of the sun and moon (with phases) over time. You can move the pin around to anywhere in the world. (And you can save your popular locations.) I used it to find out the date of a full moon. Then I moved the pin around to see where I would have to stand to get a shot of the full moon setting behind the Golden Gate Bridge.  

The one thing I needed that TPS doesn't do is tell me whether it will be a foggy morning. (If memory serves I got to Marina Green around 5:30 am)

Hey Michael,

Yep, TPS is a great app! I have it on my mobile devices! 

It is too bad TPS doesn't predict the weather...still waiting for an app (or weather person) that does that accurately!

Thanks for reading!

Great piece, that really covered the bases.

I hand hold a lot of moon shots. Because I shoot wildlife, I'm often out at sunrise, sunset and the golden hours and see the gibbous and full moon near the horizon, or up in the sky above 30-degrees. I'm opportunistic and take advantage when the sky is really clear for those shots where the moon is the main focus.

About hand holding a 500mm lens at 500mm/700mm/1000mm, with 1.4 and 2.0x converters, for gibbous and full moons, I use what I call my "8/8/8 guide". ISO 800, f/8 and 1/800-sec. Remember, this is hand held. I take an initial shot, chimp and then raise or lower EV to suit the situation, but 8/8/8 is often the right answer. The latest, modern, super-telephoto lenses, now have around 4-stops of image stabilization. That's huge, so I highly recommend taking advantage of it.

Hey David,

Thanks for the compliment!

Great tips, thank you! How crazy is it that we can now hand-hold 500mm lenses WITH teleconverters and get sharp, noiseless images due to image stabilization? Crazy!

Thanks for reading!

Thank you Todd for some very Interesting info, I live in the NJ close to MetLife  stadium, from my deck I've been trying for a few years to  photograph a plane landing at Newark as it flies through a full moon, I finally  achieved it last month using a Nikon D500 Nikon 80-400 mm 4.5-5.6G, & a Nikon 1.7x telconverter, not overly happy with results. I will be using your tips &  techniques on the next full moon. Thanks for all the great articles......

Hey Donald,

Keep on trying! You have a lot of moving things in one frame and a bit of luck is needed to get the great results!

Most of the time, when I see shots like that, the plane is always a bit soft. With cameras having increasingly better high ISO performance, the images will get even better as shutter speeds get faster with no associated higher-ISO noise!

Thank you for the very kind words! I am glad you are enjoying my articles!

Please don't be a Giants fan!

What adapter with straight barrel Leica televid 77 to use for Nikon D810 ?  Is it available from B & H ?

Hey merle,

Unfortunately, the adapter is discontinued. Here is what I just posted down below on another comment:

I use the now out-of-production Leica SLR Photo Adapter and a T-mount to connect the Televid to my cameras. You can find the SLR Photo Adapters online used and sometimes in the B&H Used Store. There are a few different versions and non are cheap, unfortunately! But, that is to be expected with Leica.

Here is the latest discontinued version: https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/893286-REG/Leica_42306_SLR_Photo_Adapter.html

To see some other folk's setups, do a web search for "Leica Televid Camera Adapter." (Some links will be to the dedicated mounts for Leica point-and-shoot cameras, but some are for SLRs/mirrorless.)

Currently, Leica sells the 35mm Digiscoping Objective Lens [https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1258777-REG/leica_42308_digiscoping_35mm_objective_lens.html] that I am dying to do a hands-on review of! It fits over the eyepiece (the Photo Adapter replaced the eyepiece) and it allows you to shoot through the eyepiece and is optimized for APS-C cameras (sorry!). It looks like a T-mount adapter is required for this accessory as well.

Standing by for follow-up questions!

Thanks for the info!  One thing I learned the hard way in photographing the moon is that it doesn't always come up in the same place.  I saw a rising full moon over Seattle from a point across the bay one evening, and planned to photograph it from that spot the next time I had a chance when the moon was full.  At a subsequent full moon, I set up my tripod at that same place and waited.  And waited.  I knew from the charts that the moon was supposed to have risen by now, but I didn't see it.  Then I looked to the south, and whoa!  There it was, rising over an industrial area!  The orbit must have some kind of wobble in it.

The moon, like the sun, rises and sets at different points on the horizon depending on the time of year.  Most of this change is related to the tilt in the Earth's north/south axis.

Hey Ken,

As Tom just mentioned, this is due to the fact that the Earth's axis is tilted at 23.5 degrees (and wobbling). This is what gives us seasons...and ruined your Moonrise photo! 

The good news is that we can predict where the moon and sun will rise and set! There is a lot of websites and mobile apps that allow you to plan your shots!

Good luck!

Wow!!! That's a lot of great information for shooting the moon. Currently I take a lot of photos for my softball league and shoot at high shutter speeds to capture the action. Now that the softball season is over, my curiosity astrophotography has gotten the better of me. As a beginner in this field, I will be trying out all your tips.

Thanks, Bo!

I try to write the most comprehensive articles to be found on any given topic, without being too lengthy! There are a lot of articles on lunar photography, but some only cover a few of the tips that I did.

I am glad you enjoyed the piece! Good luck with the moon shots!

Very nice images and useful information.  Thank you.

Did capture the "Blood Moon" with my D800, but the lower reflected light of the moon in that extrarodinary eclipse required some challenging compromises. I used a rental 600 mm f4 Nikon lens with my Nikon 2X Telextender at f11 to 16 (one to two stops down from wide open) at ISO 6400 and a varying shutter speeds and ISO's to suit during the eclipse sequence.  The camera was on a heavy Manfrotto and I used "mirror up" with a radio remote after the mirror vibrations damped out.  Adjusting the elevation and azimuth was necessary during the shoot as rotation of the Earth required frame-to-frame adjustments.  A tracking mount would have been perfect as the relative movement of the moon from my camera platform (camera & tripod & house structure & Earth) could be seen and a tracking mount would have allowed lower ISO and higher quality images. The atmosphere was fairly decent.

Thanks, John!

Yep, as you saw, photographing lunar eclipses provides a few more challenges. I am going to talk about that in an upcoming article, so stay tuned!

Let me know if you get a tracker and want to loan it to me! 

Thanks for sharing!

Very informative article, and also the data under each photo.

Equally informative are the helpful comments from other photographers as to which setting they found useful.

Many thanks to all.

Thanks for reading, Roger! It looks like some folks did chime in with their settings!

How did you mount your camera to the televid 77? Does the current Leica DSLR mount work with that scope?

I own that scope and would like to use it for birds and the moon, with a Sony A7rII.  Any tips on mounting the camera welcome!!

Hey Roger,

I use the now out-of-production Leica SLR Photo Adapter and a T-mount to connect the Televid to my cameras. You can find the SLR Photo Adapters online used and sometimes in the B&H Used Store. There are a few different versions and non are cheap, unfortunately! But, that is to be expected with Leica.

Here is the latest discontinued version: https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/893286-REG/Leica_42306_SLR_Photo_Adapter.html

To see some other folk's setups, do a web search for "Leica Televid Camera Adapter." (Some links will be to the dedicated mounts for Leica point-and-shoot cameras, but some are for SLRs/mirrorless.)

Currently, Leica sells the 35mm Digiscoping Objective Lens [https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1258777-REG/leica_42308_digiscoping_35mm_objective_lens.html] that I am dying to do a hands-on review of! It fits over the eyepiece (the Photo Adapter replaced the eyepiece) and it allows you to shoot through the eyepiece and is optimized for APS-C cameras (sorry!). It looks like a T-mount adapter is required for this accessory as well.

Let me know if you have any more questions and thanks for reading!

Don't forget that there is a moon in daylight.

Yep! The moon is up 50% of the time. You just cannot always see it!

Thanks for reading, Jasso!

Thank you for all the helpful information! I shoot a Nikon D7100 with a 55-300 lens so I do need to crop the image quite a bit to get a decent sized image. Can anyone recommend a better lens? Again I'm using the D7100 which is not a full frame camera.

David J.

Tamron 150-600mm

Sigma 150-500

Rent a Nikon 200-500mm f5.6 mounted on a sturdy tripod. It works for me on my D7200.

I've taken pretty good lunar shots with a D7000 and a Nikkor 70-300 lens (which isn't as expensive as some of the other sugestions). I used a tripod and exposed it for about three minutes, the ISO was set at 100. Too bad I can't attached the shot. 

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