Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Astronomy Domine

The title gives me a good excuse to play the above song as I write!

Ok so I have been asked to blog on how I took my Moon photo last night 28/08/12

First thing I used was a spotting scope that I purchased off eBay for 99p!

I set this up looking out of a window (in the example below I am going to take a picture of a tree).

Ok so the spotting scope is set up and focused on the tree.

The above non-scoped picture shows the tree through the window.

I raise the scope so that I can get a clear shot of the tree and then raise the camera so I can zoom the lens into the viewer. This allows the zoomed image of the tree to be seen on the view screen on the camera (you can do this without tripods but keeping things still becomes an issue).

Here is the magnified image on the view screen, to avoid shaking the camera I set it to a delay so that once I have pushed the button to take a photo I get a few seconds for everything to settle down - avoids blurring photos.

Unfortunately today is a windy day so even with care and the method above some pictures still don't come out great.

This one is much better however in taking it I moved the camera slightly to the side and so missed the bulk of the branch! This is an issue with cheap equipment as even tightened the tripods are prone to slipping. However like with everything patience and practice will improve results (sounds familiar).

Above is a photo from last night that came out ok but I wasn't zoomed fully in so a lot of the detail of the Moon is lost!

Here is one where the camera slipped down so the Moon is now in the bottom of the photo but there is also a second 'shadow' Moon. I kept getting shadow images when the lens wasn't flush onto the viewer of the scope. I like this picture though, it's haunting.

Here is one I quite like although I rushed to take the image just as cloud cover came over. It shows that sometimes effects - like the wind in the tree - can give a good image and so don't be afraid to take lots of photos (even if people mock you for it).

On this one I increased the zoom but didn't get the focus right. One of the hardest parts of this technique is focusing whilst looking at a camera view screen. The tendency is to move everything away from the subject and spoil the photo you are taking - which can get frustrating in the dark!

In this one I got the focus and the zoom slightly wrong and it meant the Moon was far too illuminated as I was not looking beyond the light. If I had zoomed a bit more I may have got more surface detail.

This one was far too zoomed in and so is a mess as the focus was completely wrong.

This one was attempted to be taken without the time delay, it resulted in shaking of the camera by pushing the button. The delay means you can move away from the camera so you don't jostle it too much.

This one is one of those frustrating pictures that is almost just right! the Moon is square in the photo and the zoom is right it just wasn't quite focused enough! Gutted!

And then a quick focus - and the camera moved slightly - and got one which is much better. I love how you can see the craters of the Moon and how it doesn't quite look right owing to it not being spherical, somehow makes it look more real like it has been worn a bit.

I hope this helps to illustrate what you can do with a bit of cheap equipment, some simple technique and a lot of patience. If you take any photos like this I'd like to see them - think you can post them in the comments box below.

Thanks for reading and best of luck.


  1. Nice work!

    In photography terms we call that edge-blurring 'chromatic aberration' - it's caused by low-quality optics being pushed beyond their normal operating capabilities. You'll notice some purple/green fringing too - but it's nothing too serious.

    Great effort though dude - I'll have to lend you my telescope one day :)

    1. Legend, thanks Nick! See that is where your expertise comes into it! It's just a lot of fun I'd love to get a telescope and try to get a picture of the planets - especially when Jupiter or Saturn are in view.

  2. Here you go mate: