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mommykim

I just ordered my first DSLR camera!

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The reason I am posting these two images is because people are trying to offer exposure advice without having gone out and photographed the moon.

 

There may be a few posters who have photographed the moon, but just didn't put up any examples. I was late to the thread when I saw the topic, and I've explained to many different people over the years who aren't familiar with shooting moons at night how to expose for typical daylight settings...I didn't think to post any examples though. I have shot the moon in many states, with a vast variety of lenses, including some really serious focal lengths...for example, here's one shot handheld with a 500mm lens and 2x teleconverter on an APS-C sensor camera, for 1,500mm equivalent:

 

original.jpg

 

Here's a dusk moon with a 600mm lens on APS-C for a 900mm equivalent, plus a lot of cropping - it's a not-quite full moon, which actually can be BETTER for seeing crater detail than shooting the moon when it's full:

 

original.jpg

 

That's another piece of advice I like to give moon shooters - don't just wait around for the full moon - shoot the crescents, half-moons, and just before and after it's full - often the details are crisper and you get more dimensionality.

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If astrophotography is a serious interest, don't spend $2000 on a camera lens for the project. That kind of money will buy an 8" - 2000mm f/10 Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope with a tracking mount and accessories with money left over. If I didn't live in an area that is a poster-child for light pollution, I would have done that long ago.

 

Dave

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Agreed. I also live in Light Pollution Central. We're lucky to even notice a single star in the sky, even with no clouds. Every once in a while, on a cool night, I can get a clean moon shot. Not worth buying a telescope for me though - at least as long as I'm in coastal Florida. If it's not light pollution, it's marine layer, humidity, cloud cover, or rain!

 

I have the side advantage of having a bunch of big telephoto lenses I use for birding and wildlife photography, along with the teleconverters, so I can play around with the moon every once in a while with my 500mm to 600mm lenses, and 1.4x and 2x teleconverters. I end up taking a few moon shots every 2-3 years, then forget about it for a while!

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What a fabulous thread!

 

It is heart-warming to see the help and advice given. A good sign of a good community.

 

Gear does matter, but I think the best advice was the one to take a beginner photography course. Understanding the effects of aperture, shutter speed, and ISO is going to eliminate a lot of wasted shots when conditions get a bit edgy.

 

And understanding some of the basics of composition and framing can move a bleh photo into pride territory.

 

I learnt a lot from my first DSLR. A big step up from my little point and shoot I got at Heathrow many years ago.

 

And when I say, "big" I'm also referring to bulk and weight. Get a full-frame DSLR and some good lenses, and you're talking serious weight to hang on your aching body.

 

I see people with this bulky kit, and I'm glad they are around. As decoys.

 

Canon and Nikon are seeing the writing on the wall, and are pouring resources into mirrorless. Those photographers with big investments in big cameras like to defend their turf, but for a traveller, a DSLR is no longer the optimum camera. There's a penalty in size and weight that you can't get away from. There's also the vibration caused by the mirror slapping back and forth, which is one reason why if you see a serious DSLR photographer, you also see a tripod somewhere around. More weight and bulk.

 

And the lenses can get pretty chunky, especially if you want to cover many situations. One lens is not going to cover all the territory, no matter what numbers are printed on it. Everyone wants to have something with a really big number on it, but unless you are photographing wildlife or airliners or covert ops, you don't need it for 99% of your travel shots. I used to have an 18-135 lens on my 70D and that worked just fine for most things. Couple that with a fast prime for night shots, and I was good to go.

 

Mirrorless cameras, or high-spec point and shoots, take you down a notch in size, without sacrificing any quality, unless you are wanting to compete with an expensive full-frame DSLR, and the only way to do that is something like the Sony A7 series. Very popular nowadays, and doubtless causing a lot of grief in the Canon and Nikon boardrooms.

 

The Sony RX100 is about as close to the perfect travel camera as anything I've seen. Pocket size, good - not great, but good - image quality, lots of features.

 

Anyway, there are hundreds of cameras to choose from, more added every week, take your pick according to needs and budget. Just about anything will do a good job, and you'll get more from what's between your ears than what's in your hands. Even the typical phone does a reasonable job nowadays. But please, please, please, keep the lens clean!

 

I'm a RAW shooter, and the reason why is that RAW files can deliver outstanding results in post-production. Maybe you don't have the software or skills right now, but when you do, you can go back and improve your images. Shoot RAW and JPEG if possible. The JPEGs can be used and shared immediately, the RAW is for later, when you are selecting the shots you want to put in a book, and want them looking their absolute best.

 

Get a bunch of SD cards. I like the idea of one for each day. Or have two backup methods, such as your laptop and a portable hard drive, and reformat the card each day. There are few things more frustrating than finding a subject worth shooting towards the end of a cruise and finding out you've run out of space on the card. Having to chimp through images from previous days and delete a bunch on the fly consumes time and runs the risk of getting rid of something that should have been kept.

 

And if you get a new camera for a cruise, go out and use the thing before going anywhere near the ship. Play tourist in your own city. Photograph the buildings, the mountains, the parks, the street art, the night scenes. Find out what works and what doesn't. The worst time to be fiddling with the menu or flipping through the manual is when the dancers are dancing, the bus is leaving, the monkey is several trees away, the natives have stopped smiling...

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If astrophotography is a serious interest, don't spend $2000 on a camera lens for the project. That kind of money will buy an 8" - 2000mm f/10 Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope with a tracking mount and accessories with money left over. If I didn't live in an area that is a poster-child for light pollution, I would have done that long ago.

 

Dave

 

I agree. It's weird having moved here from SoCal. I can see stars. People have telescopes here. At my parents' house where I grew up, there were days when I couldn't see the San Gabriel Valley mountains due to smog and they were only about a 30 minute drive away.

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I took a picture of a cardinal (maybe about 80 feet away) using my 70-300 lens zoomed all the way. The picture looked good but when I did in-camera cropping to enlarge the cardinal it was kind of blurry. What am I doing wrong?

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I took a picture of a cardinal (maybe about 80 feet away) using my 70-300 lens zoomed all the way. The picture looked good but when I did in-camera cropping to enlarge the cardinal it was kind of blurry. What am I doing wrong?

 

I don't think you really did anything wrong. However, from 80 feet away zoomed to 300 mm, the cardinal probably fills a very small portion of the frame. This much cropping will magnify any focus issues or any other defects in the photo. Also, you may get better results if you crop on the computer rather than in camera.

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I took a picture of a cardinal (maybe about 80 feet away) using my 70-300 lens zoomed all the way. The picture looked good but when I did in-camera cropping to enlarge the cardinal it was kind of blurry. What am I doing wrong?

 

Check for elements in the image located above, below, right and left of the bird. It's possible the autofocus simply missed the bird as the main focus target. At a distance this isn't uncommon. A fix might be to switch to center focus when trying to isolate a distant subject.

 

Dave

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Check for elements in the image located above, below, right and left of the bird. It's possible the autofocus simply missed the bird as the main focus target. At a distance this isn't uncommon. A fix might be to switch to center focus when trying to isolate a distant subject.

 

Dave

 

Also - is the bird moving? Image Stabilization / Vibration Reduction only helps if the subject is not moving [much] when the shutter fires.

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Is ISO something you need to change often or is there a good setting to keep it at most of the time?

 

ISO relates to the sensitivity of the film/sensor to light. It is one of the 3 legs of exposure (aperture, shutter speed, and ISO). Each leg has its own advantages and disadvantages. Opening or closing the aperture affects depth of field. Lengthening or shortening the shutter speed can cause or reduce motion blur. Increasing ISO can cause "noise."

 

Getting the right exposure is really about figuring out what you want out of the picture and manipulating the 3 legs to get the results you desire.

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There may be a few posters who have photographed the moon, but just didn't put up any examples. I was late to the thread when I saw the topic, and I've explained to many different people over the years who aren't familiar with shooting moons at night how to expose for typical daylight settings...I didn't think to post any examples though. I have shot the moon in many states, with a vast variety of lenses, including some really serious focal lengths...for example, here's one shot handheld with a 500mm lens and 2x teleconverter on an APS-C sensor camera, for 1,500mm equivalent:

 

original.jpg

 

Here's a dusk moon with a 600mm lens on APS-C for a 900mm equivalent, plus a lot of cropping - it's a not-quite full moon, which actually can be BETTER for seeing crater detail than shooting the moon when it's full:

 

original.jpg

 

That's another piece of advice I like to give moon shooters - don't just wait around for the full moon - shoot the crescents, half-moons, and just before and after it's full - often the details are crisper and you get more dimensionality.

 

what settings do you use? I have yet to get a good moon shot! :eek:

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Nikon D850, ISO200, 1/200, f7.1, 500mm, handheld.

 

40016989032_9ed29434f3_z.jpg

It was cropped form this

 

25177762577_cc0e90a8ed_z.jpg

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"Nikon D850, ISO200, 1/200, f7.1, 500mm, handheld."

 

thanks! :D

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what settings do you use? I have yet to get a good moon shot! :eek:

 

The EXIF for those two shots should be there, but in case you can't bring it up...the first supermoon 1500mm equivalent shot was:

 

ISO200, 1/250 shutter, F13, -.3 EV, handheld.

 

The early evening blue sky moon was:

600mm, ISO 125, 1/500, F8, -1 EV, handheld

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The EXIF for those two shots should be there, but in case you can't bring it up...the first supermoon 1500mm equivalent shot was:

 

ISO200, 1/250 shutter, F13, -.3 EV, handheld.

 

The early evening blue sky moon was:

600mm, ISO 125, 1/500, F8, -1 EV, handheld

fantastic, thanks!

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I don't think you really did anything wrong. However, from 80 feet away zoomed to 300 mm, the cardinal probably fills a very small portion of the frame. This much cropping will magnify any focus issues or any other defects in the photo. Also, you may get better results if you crop on the computer rather than in camera.

 

Check for elements in the image located above, below, right and left of the bird. It's possible the autofocus simply missed the bird as the main focus target. At a distance this isn't uncommon. A fix might be to switch to center focus when trying to isolate a distant subject.

 

Dave

 

Thanks, I'm just learning all this. I don't know how to crop on the computer yet (but will eventually). Is there a menu item for center focus?

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Also - is the bird moving? Image Stabilization / Vibration Reduction only helps if the subject is not moving [much] when the shutter fires.

 

 

No the bird was just sitting on a branch. My camera Nikon D3400 doesn't seem to have

Image Stabilization / Vibration Reduction.

 

ISO relates to the sensitivity of the film/sensor to light. It is one of the 3 legs of exposure (aperture, shutter speed, and ISO). Each leg has its own advantages and disadvantages. Opening or closing the aperture affects depth of field. Lengthening or shortening the shutter speed can cause or reduce motion blur. Increasing ISO can cause "noise."

 

Getting the right exposure is really about figuring out what you want out of the picture and manipulating the 3 legs to get the results you desire.

 

I'm very new at this. I really don't know how to figure out the 3 legs yet.

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If anyone has the time, I recently posted pictures in the picture a week for week 9, 11 and 12. Any pointers on how to take better shots would be appreciated.

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I always carry a small, thin plastic bag it my pocket to protect my camera if it rains. I never travel with a camera bag - I never put my camera away - it's ALWAYS on my shoulder. Don't forget a spare battery and charger. Get a large capacity memory card.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Forums

 

 

Great tips thank you.

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I really don't know how to figure out the 3 legs yet.

 

The Great Courses has a bunch of photography lectures that you might enjoy. The basic one by Mr. Santore is good for the three legs and a travel photography is the latest and I recommend it highly.

 

Tad expensive to subscribe, but the Great Courses Plus which is a streaming site has an abundance of riches with courses from A(ntropology) to Z(oology) in addition to a bunch of photographic courses. You might want to check it out.

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You can find all kinds of beginner photography seminars. I bet your local community center/college would have one for you. If not, find a camera store that is local in your area and see if they have anything. Sometimes you can get into a beginner course for $40-50.

 

It is well worth it, when you can start taking photos not using the automatic setting on your DSLR.

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No the bird was just sitting on a branch. My camera Nikon D3400 doesn't seem to have

 

 

 

 

Image Stabilization / Vibration Reduction.

 

 

 

I'm very new at this. I really don't know how to figure out the 3 legs yet.

 

Thumbnail view of the Three Legs (Trinity of Exposure):

 

The photographic trinity of exposure:

Aperture (f-stop) – controls the amount of available light that is passed through the lens to the sensor. Long version: F-stops are the ratio between the focal length of the lens and the actual opening diameter of the aperture diaphragm. f/2 on a 50mm lens would require a 25mm aperture (50/25=2), an 18mm aperture would make the f/stop f2.8. An 18mm circle has half the area of a 25mm circle, so each full stop halves the amount of light passed to the sensor. f/2.8 passes half as much light as f/2. f/4 passes one quarter as much light as f/2, etc.

 

 

Full stops are: f/1, f/1.4, f/2, f/2.8, f/4, f/5.6, f/8, f/11, f/16, f/22...etc.

 

 

Short version: for f/stops, a bigger number after the f/ means a smaller aperture and less light to the sensor. A smaller number after the f/ means a larger aperture and more light to the sensor.

 

 

Shutter speed – the length of time that the shutter is open, exposing the sensor to the available light.

Easier than f/stops. If you change from 1/100th of a second to 1/200th of a second, it lets half the amount of light in. Straight math. 2 seconds lets in twice as much light as 1 second.

 

 

Sensitivity (ISO) – how quickly the sensor records an image at the light level made available by the aperture and shutter.

Again, straight math. ISO200 captures an image twice as quickly as ISO100.

 

Shutter speed and sensitivity are determined by the camera, the lens aperture determines how much light gets through.

 

To explain exposure and how it relates to it’s three components, let’s look at one particular exposure value and how changing any of the three components affects it.

Sunny 16 rule. Back before we had evaluative, multi-segment metering and tiny supercomputers in our cameras, people often had to use rule-of-thumb to determine correct exposure. One such rule was the “sunny 16” rule. It went like this; on a sunny day you shoot at f/16 with the shutter speed set to the reciprocal of the speed of your film. If you were using ASA100 (ASA is the forerunner of ISO sensitivity ratings) slide film, your setting would be f/16 at 1/125 and you could expect a reasonably good exposure.

 

Note: The reason 1/125 was chosen for the example was that standard shutter speeds in the days of mechanical shutters were 1, ½, ¼. 1/8, 1/15, 1/30, 1/60, 1/125, 1/250, 1/500, 1/1000. Since each step allowed half as much light to reach the film, the values have carried over to remain as standard values in the current era of incredibly accurate electronic shutters. You may set your dials or menu to f/8 at 1/500, but the actual shutter speed could be 1/462.

 

If you change any one of the three values, you must change at least one of the others to get the same exposure value. The following chart illustrates this by shifting the exposure components up and down. Keep in mind that the settings listed in each row in the chart will result in the same sunny day exposure value.

 

ADDSunny16.jpg

 

As we see in the chart, various situations require the ability to adjust the camera's three main segments of the exposure Trinity.

 

Examples:

 

If you want a faster shutter speed to stop action you need to set either a higher ISO setting or larger aperture.

 

If you want a larger aperture to blur the background of a portrait, you need to set a slower shutter speed or increase the ISO.

 

If you want a lower ISO to reduce the appearance of noise, you need a slower shutter speed or larger aperture.

 

It is dusk and your aperture number is blinking. It is because it is as large as it can get and there still isn't enough light for a good exposure. You will need to either lower your selected shutter speed or increase the ISO. Or both.

 

You are at the beach at noon and your shutter speed is blinking. It is because it is as small as it can get and there is too much light for a good exposure. You will need to either choose a smaller aperture or decrease the ISO. Or both.

 

 

Assuming you have auto-ISO enabled on your camera, when you use the adjustment dial to set the Aperture in A mode, the system will shift the other two to give a good exposure. The same if you adjust the shutter speed in S mode. In P mode, the dial will shift both the Aperture and Shutter as needed to give you a good exposure. This is handy if you see the auto setting is 1/60 at f/11 and you want a faster shutter. A spin of the dial will shift the settings to maybe 1/250 at f/5.6.

 

 

This is sort of exposure 101. if you have specific questions, post them and someone will pop in and answer. This is a great forum with a lot of helpful people.

 

 

Dave

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Thanks Dave!

 

Cruises42,

 

Most people will struggle with aperture (I know I did and still do usually). I never remember the ratio information and for the most part, for me, it isn't all that important. The easiest way to explain it is the smaller the aperture number (f1. f1.4, f2), the larger the opening in the lens, so it lets in more light. The larger the number (f16, f11, f8), the smaller the opening in the lens so it lets in less light. For most instances, with amateur and hobbyists, that is enough information.

 

A larger opening (smaller f number) will decrease your depth of field and allow for blurred backgrounds or bokeh. A smaller opening (larger f number) will increase your depth of field and allow for a greater range in the photo to be in focus. To demonstrate this hold your thumb up in front of you slightly to the side of an object in the distance, close one eye, then focus on your thumb. Depending on how far the object is away from you, you will probably have difficulty having your thumb and the object in focus at the same time. Now take a white piece of copy paper and poke a pin through it. Do the same thing you did last time, but look through the pinhole. You should be able to have your thumb and the object in focus at the same time. This is how the aperture affects depth of field. The pinhole is an aperture.

 

You will often hear people refer to fast lenses. It has nothing to do with how fast the shutter opens and closes. This is a reference to lenses that have low f numbers (f1.4) for the aperture, because they can open up wider, let more light in, and thus allow for faster shutter speeds without blur in lower light settings. Typically fast lenses are more expensive.

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The Great Courses has a bunch of photography lectures that you might enjoy. The basic one by Mr. Santore is good for the three legs and a travel photography is the latest and I recommend it highly.

 

Tad expensive to subscribe, but the Great Courses Plus which is a streaming site has an abundance of riches with courses from A(ntropology) to Z(oology) in addition to a bunch of photographic courses. You might want to check it out.

 

I have gotten catalogs from them. I don't remember seeing a beginning course but I'll check again when I get a new catalog.

You can find all kinds of beginner photography seminars. I bet your local community center/college would have one for you. If not, find a camera store that is local in your area and see if they have anything. Sometimes you can get into a beginner course for $40-50.

 

It is well worth it, when you can start taking photos not using the automatic setting on your DSLR.

So far I'm not really finding anything in this area.

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