Quicksilver Moon


I took this shot while waiting for the Blood Moon over at Trona Pinnacles in Sierra Nevada several months ago. I actually like the “normal” Moon image better than the blood moon, which looks like it is orange painted/tinted. To get stars clean and correctly exposed (the light from the full moon was overwhelming) I took another shot of just stars next to the Moon, and combined both shots into this one image, imitating what a Hubble Telescope would capture, as an example. So, in a way this is a Moon HDR image.

I don’t own a crazy expensive lens like the Nikon 600mm f/4, so I used my Sigma 120-300mm f/2.8 lens along with 2xTC. The Sigma lens is quite sharp, even with the 2x teleconverter attached and this image is a good example/proof of that.

The exposure of this image was quite simple. I shot it at ISO 64 (believe it or not), and f/11 for about 1/160th of a second. Why so fast? A full moon emits so much light that if exposed for longer it’ll become just a white (overexposed and without detail) spot. I played with exposure time until I got the shot right (correctly exposed but still at high ISO), then I reduced the ISO to a minimum to get as clean an image as possible (noiseless) and reduced the exposure time until I settled for the 1/160th of a second. It was fast enough to get a clean/sharp image even on a quite windy day.