Moon Shot

I've been itching to take some night sky photos for a while now but the weather in Bristol hasn't been co-operating lately. If there has been a clear night it has always been on a weekday and my sensible side tells me that getting no sleep the night before a day at work is a bad thing. Yesterday, however, was a relatively clear night and now that the clocks have gone back to GMT it's getting dark very early. I therefore set out at around 1900 last night with the intention of probably trying to get some starfields if possible and had picked a possibly dark enough area to try around one of the local golf courses. I set out on my bike, which hasn't been ridden in at least a year, with a warm coat and gloves, a full pack of camera gear and a spare battery. I did get to the golf course but to be honest it was so out of the way and I was on my own that I didn't really want to venture further in where I might get less light pollution from the city. I resigned myself to the fact that I was chickening out and decided instead to take a ride around the local area and photograph anything that looked interesting.

Although I came away with no starfields I did try taking some pictures of the moon.

I've always known that the moon, when showing a lot of it's face, is an incredibly bright object in the sky but I never realised just how bright it actually was. The picture below was taken at 300mm, a shutter of 1/500, f 5.6 and ISO 100.

Moon - 12 Nov. 2005: The moon, taken 12 Nov. 2005.Moon - 12 Nov. 2005: The moon, taken 12 Nov. 2005.

I haven't reduced the size like I normally would have when I put pictures up here. I've just cropped around the moon and applied a tiny bit of sharpening to offset the softness of the original RAW file. The lens I used is quite cheap and I've already noticed that the optical quality of the lens isn't great but it appears to have got a pretty reasonable picture of the moon. I can only imagine how cool the image would be with a much better lens. I haven't ever tried taking pictures of celestial objects before, which is odd as I have a love of all things space related, but I will definitely be trying again as the excitement I felt when I looked at the pictures on my computer when I got home was intense.

I'll think I'll wait till I have someone else whose up for starfield photography to go out into the fields at night. At least until I psych myself up to go alone ;-)