Friday, November 25, 2016

Bringing Out Detail in Moon Photos with November 2016 Supermoon

I finally got around to stacking and adjusting my November 2016 supermoon photos that I took from my back patio through very thin clouds on November 14, 2016 about 12 hours after the peak. Since this was a "super-duper" moon, I spent a little more time trying to squeeze all the detail out of the 10 frames I took. Here is the final image, and the images I used along the way. So how do you get more detail out of moon photos without buying more expensive gear?

november 2016 supermoon at 300mm
Final image after processing 10 frames taken with Canon T5i each at ISO 100, 300mm, f/7.1, 1/250 sec stacked in Registax, high pass layer and color correction in Photoshop

Okay so that's the final image, taken with my DSLR and a kit lens from a fixed tripod. Not too shabby! I tried to find a nice balance between bringing out the detail while avoiding the blown out HDR super high contrast artificial look that can happen if you're too eager. Nevertheless, I like a nice high pass layer with contrast and trying to bring down the noise as best I can.

Here is a walkthrough of my process with screen shots along the way showing how I take individual frames and capture more of the detail that is hidden in the image (while hopefully staying true to nature).

I remember my first time using the free Registax software to stack my moon images, I was blown away, I couldn't believe how much of a difference it made in the quality of the final image.

more detailed moon photos
Click to enlarge - sequence of images showing incremental improvements in moon photo detail at each stage of post-processing
I love looking at sequences like these. It reminds me that the more I learn the better my images become. I can remember a time when I would have been thrilled just to have the image on the left, a moon photo using a zoom lens at 300mm. Now, as my 'eye' for moon photos is accustomed to the better quality images, the one on the left looks blurry and I would never post a single frame straight from the camera to social media. So as I learn more, each image now takes more time to process, it's not as simple as snap and go.

A little hazy but it still counts - super duper Moon in the bag

A photo posted by Eric Teske (@ericteske) on

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