photos sci-tech

Shooting for the Moon

Yeah, I missed the full moon but it was still pretty full tonight when driving home so I stopped alongside the road for a photo. But using just my little Sanyo HD2 camera here’s what I got on the first try just to see what it would do on all auto setting. Both of the images below are cropped.

The Moon before adjustments

On all auto settings handheld it’s too slow of a shutter speed, notice the double image from the hand shake and the auto metering over exposes the shot as it sees mostly black night sky. So on a point-n-shoot type of camera like this how do I fool it to getting a decent photo?

Moon photo after manual adjustments

Yep, that’s a photo out of the same little camera. Here’s what I did.

  • White balance set to daylight (the moon is illuminated by the sun)
  • ISO manually set to 50
  • Focus set to infinity (actually the little mountain symbol on the screen)
  • Exposure set by locking onto my car’s dome light (see explanation below)

The tough part was exposure so I can hand-hold a decent shutter speed and not overexpose the shot. Since focus was already set it didn’t matter what I pointed the little camera at to lock exposure, so I turned on my car’s interior dome light, pointed at parts of it until I saw the shutter speed I wanted, half-pressed the button to lock that in, recomposed on the moon and voila!

You gotta fool these little point-n-shoot cameras to obey what you want them to do. I did a similar thing with my friend’s cameraphone in Las Vegas. He wanted to get a nice shot of the Paris hotel balloon but it kept coming out over exposed. So I held up my cellphone screen to his lens to trick it to darken the photo, then quickly took it away and snapped a shot before it could change the exposure. If there’s a will there’s a way. I probably would have gotten a better shot using a tripod and not shooting through my front windshield like I did, but where’s the challenge in that?

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