April 5th – Better Late Than Never!

Better late than never

Just 24 hours after thick clouds and persistent rain scuppered plans to do some meaningful astro photography, we were blessed (well, mocked really) by crystal clear Northern Rivers skies.

But that’s all the complaining you will hear from me. The clouds that prevented the spectacle filled rain gauges in the Northern Rivers with up to a couple of inches (in the old scale).

I can also consider myself luckier than most, after fluking a brief 15 minute window of opportunity when clouds momentarily parted during the recent Blood Moon event last October. On this occasion I was in suburban Hunters Hill in Sydney, and captured something that many others didn’t.

Technically photographing the moon isn’t hard.

Astro photography (with everyday camera equipment) generally requires a wide aperture (low “f” number), a moderate to high ISO, and long exposure time. And a heck of a lot of zoom.

However shooting such a bright moon goes against all of that. This photo was taken with my 100mm macro lens (on my APS-C camera that would equate to around 160mm), with a shutter speed of 1/100th of a second. Aperture was set to f8.

I was also able to produce a quality image with the camera set to f2.8 @ 1/1000th of a second, but just happened to process this image. In essence they were identical.

Having said all that, I wouldn’t mind replaying this photo with a high-quality zoom (70-200 f2.8) and perhaps even an EF extender. One day….

I urge any wannabe photographers with a half-way decent DSLR and a tripod to give it a go. It is a truly rewarding outcome when you get it right.

Even at this focal range, I find the full size image of the moon mesmerising.

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