23 June 2013

Shooting The Perigree Full Moon 2013

Shooting The Perigree Full Moon 2013

Ever since I looked up to the night sky to photograph fascinating stellar formations and heavenly bodies, I've been hooked. More so that it is challenging considering that my job is on a night shift. I should consider myself lucky that the lunar event called Supermoon happened on a weekend for 2 years now, I'm not counting the years before that because then I was oblivious with the fact that I can actually take photos of the moon with only my DSLR and 200mm Nikkor Telephoto lens. It is also a fact that Digicams can also be used to capture the Moon and its mystical surface; people just don't read their camera manuals.
 
Our Moon Luna being a diligent satellite circles our planet Earth many times, while the Earth is circling the Sun. These movements of heavenly masses creates a push and pull of gravity, making the orbit spaces elliptical, so while there is a point in the Earth's orbit where it is closer to the Sun, so as the Moon has a spot where it is closer to the Earth. As it is, Perigree Full moon happens, a time of the month when the Full face of the moon reflecting the light of the Sun graces our night sky on the part of its orbit closer to the Earth.






While some may argue that the increased percentage of the full moon is not much noticeable. Excited as I was, I did a preparatory test shots towards the end of April Full Moon named as the "Pink Moon". Full Moon's have corresponding names to them per different cultures, and last night the June Full Moon is known as the "Thunder Moon". Though last April, I was just playing with my camera, more of spur of the moment action as I watch from the windows of my apartment, seeing the bright night sky. It does makes a difference, using the same Camera setting I used for 2012's Supermoon, I had a hard time getting a sharp image, my camera remote release was acting up, and the tripod I was using is new, so I was unfamiliar with the dials. More so, I realized during the post processing that I didn't get any decent shot at all, so I gave up editing most of it, but still I decided to blog it using a few frames and including the one's I did last year.

I told myself, in 2 months time, I will get the chance to shoot a Perigree Full Moon, and I will be ready.




The camera settings I normally use starts with an Aperture of F11 or F12, sometimes if it strikes my fancy I go as low as F18, with Shutter speed of 1/25 sec, ISO level of 200, my 55-200mm Telephoto lens is at its max of 200mm though I zoom it out sometimes because I need more stability, most of the shots are at 145mm. Shoot the photos in RAW file, Manual Mode, Manual focus and center metered. It is okay to place the Moon in the dead center of the photo, because as you can see the Moon's surface in the lens, it's brightness will bring erase all discerning details in the live view, you have to go process the photos to underexpose going as far as -3.00 or -3.25 in Adobe Lightroom.

To appreciate fully and show the moon's surface, it has to be close cropped, this is why shooting in RAW file is needed, as you will chunk off all that extra size down. You can now use the rule of thirds in cropping, by then any of the camera shake you have taken for granted earlier will be visible with the side blurring. I've taken about over 50 Photos of the Supermoon last night, but had to discard most of it as I inspect each of them on the post process. I was not satisfied even with the final export result; I have to open Photoshop but decided against it. Good thing I have Picasa, its simpler software to handle but does an excellent job in sharpening photos, you just have to avoid the temptation of going through the boost dials. Using this one click edits maybe easier, with the downside that the photo will look unnatural.

All these photos posted here had a warm sheen on it, they were golden. But so I can emphasize the moon's surface and its varying craters, I adjusted them to cool temperatures, to tune down the golden sheen and make the white craters glow. The text were added with the help of Picasa, I just wish though that I can do composite editing, where I can combine several photo's of the same subject in one Shot, that may allow me to show a lot more details of the moon and the colors that are actually in there like blues, the grey shades and shadows of craters.






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