May 29, 2017

In the not-so-misty moonlight

The supermoon at 12:57 a.m. on Monday, November 14, 2016.
The supermoon at 12:57 a.m. on Monday, November 14, 2016.

As a photographer, I’ve long been fascinated by the moon.

I remember long nights back in the 1960s with my trusty Nikon F on a tripod, with a 300mm manual focus lens, trying to capture the moon on Tri-X film and slow shutter speeds.

The 300 didn’t get my image as close as I wanted but it was the best lens I could afford at the time and blowing up photos from Tri-X meant a lot of grain.  It also meant driving to a remote spot somewhere away from areas with too much light to try and find the best location to shoot.

At 1 a.m. on this Monday morning,  I walked out of the garage of our home in Floyd County and hand-held an 80-200mm Canon telephoto lens with a 2X tele-extender to capture the latest “supermoon” on a 5D MkIII with a 22.3 megapixel sensor at 6400 ISO on a Lexar 128GB compact flash card.

The low light settings of the MKIII is the best of any digital camera I’ve owned over the years and even at 6400 ISO it can, and does, bring out detail.

The moon was so bright that I could shoot at 7.1 aperture at 1/4000th of a second, a fast-enough shutter speed to capture it without needing a tripod.  Putting a 2X tele-extender on a 200mm gave me a 400mm and brought the moon reasonably close.  Nowadays, quality lenses from a company like Canon can provide sharpness, even when using a tele-extender.

In this case, technology clearly supplanted any claims of talent.  All I did was point and shoot.

 

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