Photography expert needed (in Off-topic)

DH June 19 2008 8:45 PM EDT

So im into photography right...mostly nature stuff and animals and what not. So i was sitting here last night...looking at the moon...thinkin..i should take some pics of that!

Well, i tried and it came out as a bright blob. no matter what i tried it was a terrible excuse for a crappy picture. question is. Anyone know how to take good pics of the moon? what priorities should i be considering when getting good quality shots. I see millions of photos out there of the moon...I want one too.

heres my equipment:

Nikon D40 DSLR
Nikon 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G ED AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor Lens
Nikon 55-200mm f/4-5.6G ED-IF AF-S DX VR Zoom-Nikkor Lens

Daz June 19 2008 8:55 PM EDT

As I recall from when I dabbled in photography, you need to adjust the shutter setting, so that it stays open much longer. I'm not sure what the ideal shutter values are, as they may be different for more effective shot of stars and the moon.

tasuki [UFC] June 19 2008 9:00 PM EDT

Taking pictures at night is difficult. Did you use a tripod.

DH June 19 2008 9:02 PM EDT

thats what i thought..but turns out the moon is really bright so shutter speed slowing made it worse

im wondering if i need a polarizing lens. I have a VR lens so shakiness isnt an issue.

Also Canons have a feature called MLU that locks up the mirror...i don't have that sort of thing...although i've seen stellar moon pics from my camera.

DH June 19 2008 9:03 PM EDT

Tasuki: I do have a tripod as well as a VR lens.

j'bob June 19 2008 9:52 PM EDT

"Well, i tried and it came out as a bright blob"

It's been a long time since I've dabbled in photography but..
be aware of other light sources that might be bleeding in (i'm sure you are, just worth mentioning)
try UNDER exposing while testing different shutter speeds, you can always lighten a dark but crisp pic on the computer.
even on a tripod, try using a remote if you can (and aren't already) even a tiny bit of camera shake from you pressing the button can cause a bit of blur.
good luck!

InebriatedArsonist June 19 2008 10:15 PM EDT

Do you have your camera set to take pictures in RAW mode? Sometimes processing the pictures outside of the camera using computer software can be rather helpful.

three4thsforsaken June 19 2008 10:37 PM EDT

what kind of shutter speed are we talking? If it's open for several minutes that might actually be caused by the movement of the moon.

DH June 19 2008 10:56 PM EDT

I actually figured it out, i need a remote because my finger pushing the button causes my clutch on my tripod head to flex which leads to fuzziness.

I was using 1/250 sec 1/30 sec and 1 second shutter speeds at ISO 200

i tried them at ISO 1600 as well. Keep in mind the D40 is the entry level DSLR, although ive seen some amazing pictures from it so i know it works...

So i think my issue is loose clutch + finger = flexure.

Thanks for the suggestions! actually i figured it out from this post!

QBsutekh137 June 19 2008 11:08 PM EDT

Can you time it? If so, perhaps the shakiness will subside in the 20-30 seconds before the timed picture shoots... No need for a remote that way?

DH June 19 2008 11:14 PM EDT

i can put a two second timer on it! good thinking Sut!
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