1/320sec @ f/5.6
300mm, ISO200, -1ev
AF-S 70-300mm 4.5-5.6
Because I am a geek I love astronomy – I don’t know if ALL geeks have to like astronomy. It might be a rite of passage to Geekdom. Ever since I was young (when I thought the moon was only 91 miles away) I have loved anything to do with the night sky. I was once given a Stellarscope – similar to a kaleidoscope that has an image of all the star constellations at the end of it. You can turn outer rings to change hemispheres and time of day. If look into it while holding it up to the sky you can work out which constellations are which. I was perhaps a little young to fully appreciate it but it was nonetheless an awesome gadget.
This post is less about stars light years away and more about what can be achieved with a 300mm lens on a clear night. Armed with my Nikon D40, my 70-300mm lens and a tripod, on a frigid -30 something night I shot the moon.
With a little experimentation I realised that the best way to isolate the moon was to spot meter. This meant that the camera was exposing for the Moon, making the night sky almost completely black.
By using levels in PhotoShop I was able to clip anything below the shadows on the moon’s surface so it rendered as black. By moving the mid-point slider I was able to boost the contrast (perceived sharpness) of crater shadows. Finally adding a high-pass filter, blended to overlay, I was able to increase edge contrast. I was amazed at the amount of detail I was able to extract from the shot. Looking closely you can really see the surface of the Moon and how it seems to have had a rough life with an almost constant beating from large rocks traveling at ridiculous speeds. The network of scars gives a spider-web-like appearance.
Now I know the moon can actually be as far as 252,088 miles from earth (depending on where it is in its elliptical orbit) it fascinates me more than it ever did. It takes me just under 10 minutes to run a mile, that means it would take me 2,520,880 minutes (approx 42,000 hours or 1,750 days or 4.7 years) to run to the moon. That’s a pretty big undertaking – I can’t imagine many people would sponsor me per mile either.