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Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Need some help with exposure

Firstly, I'd love it if you'd hop over to Sarah's and vote for my photo (second one down).  It was picked in the top 4 for June.  Thank you!  But make sure to come back!  :)
Around 4:30 this morning we were awakened with IV machines beeping ... and beeping ... and beeping.  Once Alex's nurse got the machines quieted, it was a little hard for me to get back to sleep.  Especially once I noticed how cool the moon looked in all its fullness.  So I broke out my camera.  Only problem was I had no tripod.  But I did have a little red cooler with a flat top, so I balanced it on the window sill and starting playing.  Alex's nurse was in and out a couple times while I was playing and probably thought I was nuts.

I was trying to get a shot of the full moon over the city of Pittsburgh.  But I was having trouble with exposure.  If I kept the shutter open the correct amount of time to have a well-exposed moon with all the details, you could barely see the city lights.  And if I kept the shutter open long enough to see the city lights, I had an over-exposed moon with no detail.

ISO 100, f/11, 5 second shutter speed
I love the city lights in this photo but the moon is just a white glowing blob.  Not good.

So I took a few photos of just the moon ...
ISO 100, f/11, 1/20s
This turned out pretty well considering I was balancing the cooler on the window sill and the camera lens on the lens cap to raise it up a bit.  

Since I didn't end up with the shot I was after, I made a composite ...
What do you think?

What I need are tips on how to expose something like this so I can get the bright city lights and a well-exposed moon.  Or isn't that possible?  I know people use black foam board and stuff to partially expose parts of their frame, but I don't have anything like that here in our little hospital room.  And I'm not sure my brain would have worked that well at 5 a.m. anyway.  I have my tripod now so I might be able to play more.  Except that I am completely exhausted and would love about 18 hours of uninterrupted sleep.   I know that's not possible in a hospital though.

So I doubt I'll play again while we are here.  Except to photograph the fireworks tomorrow night.  I'm told we will have a pretty good view of the fireworks display.  One of the doctors said we should sell tickets to our room.  :)  I hope Alex feels well enough to enjoy them with me!

Live and Love...Out Loud                


Laura said...

I have no tips for you but I think the composite looks great!

Laura Delegal - Leroy Photography said...

I think the composite you did is what works. I've tried it before, over exposing to get the light and under exposing to get the moon. Your picture is pefect regardless. I hope Alex is home soon. I know that is so scary. Hope you get rested up soon. Take care.

HoodPhoto said...

I have only been successful with such a shot using good old Photoshop myself. Love your detailed moon shot!

If you get a chance, stop by my blog and "Like" Hood Photography on Facebook! Thanks!