Skywatch Friday – Manual Mode Moon

#Moon #FullMoon #SturgeonMoon #SuperMoon #NoFilter #NikonD5300 #300mm

First shot I tried, then the clouds came in and out.

I have had my fancy schmancy Nikon D5300 for several months now and haven’t taken the time to really learn it. I bought a pretty good book and learn a few things but then life gets in the way and the thing is just so complex and it really does well on the Auto settting and blah, blah, blah. One thing that doesn’t work well on Auto though is taking shots of the moon. The results look like perfectly focused white disks. No color or detail or anything like that. Last Saturday we had a “Super Moon” or “Sturgeon Moon” anyway a really pretty full moon. So I got the old tripod out and then hit my good friend that knows everything Mr. Google and poked around there some.


Same moon with some clouds moving in front

So I found out Auto isn’t going to work. Also, you have to have a pretty fast shutter speed at 1/125th seconds because the moon does move and most people recommended keeping the iso at about 100 to 200 and the f stop at about 8. Totally counter-intuitive to what I was thinking, max the iso, slow down the shutter speed, and open up the aperture as far as it will go. Well, the deal is that the moon is pretty bright so you have to tone things down. So I tried it and I got some decent results. (At least they are decent to me.) The main thing I couldn’t figure out was how the timer worked on the shutter. I know, I know, that is pretty lame but doing it manually very gently seemed to work out for now and I can read up on the shutter timer or use my cable release or my fancy schmancy wifi control of the camera from either my ipod or generic android cell phone.

Anyways, I learn best by doing rather than reading about how the menus work in a book. Give me a task and I will work with Mr. Google and consult a half dozen sources and then figure it out. So in addition to the timer thing, I have to figure out how to manually the focus the camera.

What is your best way of learning new things?

Linking with Skywatch Friday

23 thoughts on “Skywatch Friday – Manual Mode Moon

  1. Driller's Place

    Nice first images. I still haven’t really nailed down a moon shot! I have found that a cable release is pretty easy to use and prefer it over the timer release. You can get one at any camera store for around $20. I know there is a camera store in the Woodland Hills complex of buildings. You can find one on Amazon or B&H Photo. I use the cable release any time the camera is on a tripod. I LOVE the articulating LCD screen. I wish they had that on other models, like my D7100.
    A lot of things in photography are counter intuitive. Fireworks are like moon shots. Lower the ISO, slow down the shutter speed and increase the fstop a little more that you would think.
    One last thing, go to John Greengo has a training video on almost every popular DSLR. There is one specific to the D5300. He will tell you what every button is for and why you may want to use it. Have a blessed week-end.

  2. Peter B

    Very good shots, Alan, especially for your first time out with the new camera! Moon shots are just down right tough. The moon is exceptionally bright, so you will either have nice moon detail (if you set your exposure for the moon) and everything else is black, or you will get background detail but your moon loses all detail and just looks like a bright light. My favorite time for moon shots is when moonrise or moonset occurs near sunrise or sunset. There is enough ambient light to capture both the detail of the moon and background landscape.

  3. Sallie (FullTime-Life)

    Great moon shots. I have some good sky shots in my camera; can’t seem to get a post up on SWF lately; but I will again. And meanwhile I look at some of the great links. So good of you to host.

    And I think sometimes that I don’t learn at all.

  4. Ellen

    Reading your blog so I can learn how to take pictures of the moon is how I learn. My pictures always look like a pinhead. What lens did you use?

  5. klara

    bless Mr. Google 😉 ; yes, that’s me too – no manuals or heavy books. last sathurday I was on a highway in Germany when suddenly that big great moon appeared in front of me. no tripod, not even stopping for a longer time on parking – so no good photos. yours are amazing.

  6. Steven Que

    Oh my! These are amazing shots of the moon! I was able to see the giant moon last night together with the mooncake I just ate given by my Chinese Family 🙂 Thank you so much for sharing these 🙂


  7. artmusedog and carol

    Fantastic photography of the moon ~ Wow!

    I agree ~ life gets in the way of ‘learning a new camera’ and I too learn better by ‘doing’ than just reading ~ We would be bored if we didn’t have something learn ~ no?

    Happy Weekend to you,
    artmusedog and carol

  8. Lois

    I like how these turned out. I’m not a fan of reading the manual either, I usually just stumble on how to do stuff accidentally and then try to remember what I did.

  9. Gaelyn

    These are excellent shots! There is a Huge learning curve to the DSLRs. And the manual I have is lacking so I too ask Mr Google. Then I forget and have to look it up again. Be ready for the full lunar eclipse the 27th.

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