As I drove my daughters home from church last night, I noticed the Moon was unusually large and bright. Remembering that I had read earlier on someone’s Facebook wall that the Space Station was going to be visible this evening, I decided I’d get out my camera and take some shots. With the full Moon brightly shining, I was hoping to capture a shot of the Moon with the Space Station flying right in “front” of it. It was 8:35pm when I made this decision and the Space Station was due to zoom by between 8:50-8:55pm.
When I got home, I quickly got my camera, attached my 70-200mm lens, and fastened it to my tripod. I then bolted outside and quickly walked to my dad’s backyard, where there is a much less obstructed view of the moon. I set my camera to Aperture Priority mode and set my f-stop to 3.5. With only 2-3 minutes to spare before the Space Shuttle was due to begin flying across the horizon, I fired off some shots of the Moon. As I reviewed the shots I had just taken through the monitor on my camera, I was disappointed in how they appeared. They all looked like I had taken a picture of a large white ball, with a soft glowing halo surrounding it.
I then realized why the Moon looked so blown out. As I would focus on the Moon, my camera’s metering system would do its best to set my shutter speed to properly expose the Moon. What it wasn’t able to measure properly for though, were the craters on the Moon. So, I dialed down my exposure compensation to around -5 and took some more shots. The result of dialing down my exposure is the picture you see in this post. Unfortunately, the Space Station did not pass in front of the Moon and the shots I did capture of the Space Station didn’t turn out good at all.
One of the benefits of learning HDR Photography, is that it forces you to learn a lot about how your camera works and what all the buttons on your camera are actually there for. If you’ve spent $500 or more on a digital SLR and all you know how to do is shoot pictures in automatic mode, you doing yourself an injustice. Seriously, your camera is a very powerful device and you paid a premium to get something that you’re not even taking advantage of.
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