Well, we had a tripod swap this week, so I went out last night to try my “new” used tripod. I made this photo in my front yard using my D90, Tokina 12 – 24mm zoom, and my new Nikon wired remote release. I set the lens at 12mm, f7.1, and exposed for 25 seconds at ISO 200, using matrix metering. I also set Exposure Delay mode on, Active D-Lighting on Auto, and used Long Exp. NR on. I recorded it in RAW and processed it in Adobe Lightroom. If you click on it, you can look at a larger version.
I like the way the palm tree leads your eye to the constellation Orion in the top right part of the photo, and the wide angle distortion causes both trees to lean in and point up. I also think the dynamic range here is pretty impressive. The moon is completely blown out of course, but the detail in the trees (lit by street lights) along with the how the stars are captured by the sensor in this camera is something I’ve never seen in a photo I’ve made before. Especially with such low noise.
Also interesting is that at 25 seconds, star trails are already visible. 25 seconds = 25/(24*60*60) or ~.1 degree. At 12mm, this lens has about a 99 degree field of view, so .1 degree is about 4 pixels.
By the way, I found out recently that the reason the wired release changed from the D80 to the D90 is that the pin out had to be modified to accommodate the GPS unit. Otherwise I could have kept and used my D80 wired release.
I hope you were able to see the lunar eclipse last Wednesday. It was quite a show in Central Florida.
I used my Nikon D80 with a 70 – 300 VR zoom on a tripod in the driveway to make these photos.
It was quite cloudy at the beginning, but fortunately turned perfectly clear during totality. This first photo was made early as the earth’s shadow started to move across the moon.
The three photos posted here are all croped versions of larger files. 300mm is not quite enough lens to get full frame magnification. I had thought about trying to make some photos through my telescope, but I don’t have a camera adapter for it and didn’t want to try to hand hold an exposure. I used the spot meter mode in the camera and bracketed +/- one stop. The one stop underexposure was the best choice (as you might guess), since the meter coverage is a bit larger than the moon was in the sensor. I used both ISO 100 and 400. During totality, ISO 400 helped to reduce the exposure time and improved sharpness. I also played with turning the lens Vibration Reduction on and off , but I couldn’t see any difference in the results – which is good. I’ve noticed that the image stabilization in my Canon G9 will actually make a photo worse if left on when the camera is on a tripod.
The next photo was made during totality.
Finally, the last photo was made using a wider angle setting to also capture Saturn (lower left) and Regulus (above), which were especially impressive.
I have posted a few more of my eclipse photos here.