Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Photographing The Moon

I love to see a well taken photograph of our nearest planetary neighbour.  It is a lot easier said than done and I'm still finding my way in the art, not least because it involves being out of doors late and in the cold!  Additionally the cloud cover is often too bad and even when the sky is clear there can be atmospheric haze that reduces the quality of photographs taken from Earth.  These days of course we have seen so many photographs from space that we are spoiled.

I discovered at an early stage that you cannot get away with a hand held camera.  Even the steady hand of a surgeon might struggle to hold his lens sufficiently immobile for a night time exposure at a quarter of a million miles away from his subject.  So having acquired a tripod, I tried again, using my Minolta 75-300 mm. lens on its maximum extension.  Now this is decent lens for a zoom and I ended up with respectable pictures, but only very small ones after cropping so far into the frame.

Last night I decided to stack lenses in a reckless fashion to see what I could do with a big image.  I used my elderly Sigma 400mm f5.6  M42 lens and two doublers, a Helios and a Tamron.  Effectively I was trying to focus and set aperture and exposure manually for the equivalent of a 1600mm lens.  This is not easy; at least it's not easy for me.  I made numerous mistakes.  However I finally got a couple of presentable pictures, of which the one below is the better, in my opinion.

I do not claim that this picture has huge technical merit.  I hope to do better.  Nevertheless I am not dissatisfied with it for a first effort with this type of set up.