Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Photograph the moon with a Canon PowerShot A3100 IS

moon photo with canon powershot a3100 IS
Final product, turned down the brightness a bit in Photoshop...
I was immensely frustrated when I couldn't get a good shot of the Supermoon with my point and shoot Canon A3100 IS. The moon was super bright, and I had my camera set on a high ISO because I thought I was shooting at night.

moon photo with Canon A3100 IS point and shoot
Over-exposed supermoon from Saturday, what a waste!
Finally, I found some guidance on the A3100 group on Flickr, particularly this image with comments by N.Nirjhor. I had to translate from Portugese, but I got the gist of it: ISO-80, Exposure -2. I couldn't wait for the next clear sky to test it out!

I tried the recipe and got the same boring results from before, with maybe just a little more contrast on the lunar disc. I had the camera on ISO-80, -2, but the shutter kept trying to take a 1 second exposure which was way too long.

moon photo with Canon A3100 IS point and shoot
1" shutter was still too long even with low ISO and -2 exposure
I changed the brightness correction to focus on "Spot" rather than "Evaluative," forcing the camera to focus on the brightness of the very center of the frame and not the entire view. I got a decent result!

moon photo with Canon A3100 IS point and shoot
My first "real" shot of the moon with some foggy haze around it
Finally, I wanted to try to make the shutter time as short as possible, so I actually took a few photos with the flash, forcing the shutter to 1/60 or so at ISO 80. I finally got a decent moon shot in what appears to be natural light (the moon was rising and was very yellow).

moon photo with Canon A3100 IS point and shoot
Same moon, shorter shutter (1/60) with the flash on
Note that all of these were taken with the optical zoom maxed out at 4x, and then cropped at 100% (actual size) in Photoshop. Don't beat yourself up if you can't mimic these exactly, the original uncropped version looks like this:

moon photo with Canon A3100 IS point and shoot

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