Thursday, February 21, 2008

Dancing With the Devil in the Pale Moonlight

So I dorked out pretty hard last night, running around the Auburn campus shooting pictures of the lunar eclipse.  I had a good time, and actually learned a lot about the relationship between aperture and shutter speed.  So here are a few notes about my evening.

The moon is a lot smaller than you think it is.  Seriously.  At least it's a lot smaller than I thought it was.  In my mind, the moon always takes up about a quarter of the sky.  But when I got out tNightTimeEaglehere trying to take pictures of it, even with a 30x optical zoom it didn't come anywhere close to filling my frame. 

That makes me glad I didn't follow up on my initial idea to drive out to the middle of nowhere to avoid city lights.  Instead I went running around campus looking for good vantage points to frame the moon against building and statues.

The moon is also a lot brighter than you think it is, as well.  That's what made the eclipse such a great environment for nighttime photography.  Without getting too in-depth, digital cameras have a limit on their dynamic range (the difference between the brightest and the darkest point in the photo).  And a normal moon is so much brighter than everything else at night that it either ends up overexposed, or everything else is underexposed.  So during a lunar eclipse, you end up with the aesthetic value of having a full moon in the frame, but also can take very long exposure shots without the moon blowing everything out.

So please check out my Picasa Web Album, for the full results of the evening.


Blogger Melissa Davis said...

Those are really great Wiley! I for one wouldn't mind at all if you wanted to post an "Idiot's Guide to Aperture and Shutter Speed" type tutorial anytime in the near future - I got a Canon Powershot S5 IS for Christmas and I know it has a whole lot more power than I'm actually utilizing with my point-and-shoot noobness. In particular, when we were on the cruise at Christmas, there was a great moonlight reflection on the water that I wanted to capture and just couldn't figure out how. I think I needed to slow down the shutter speed, but it's frustrating doing the trial-and-error learning.

2/21/2008 12:54:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

dude - nice pics.

I as well checked it out, though I was stuck trying to position myself near our dumpster to block out the streetlights - and the apt complex lights rendered my digital camera useless (your comments on brightness are quite true).

also - how'd the itunes rating turn out?


3/28/2008 06:19:00 PM  

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