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Moon and double exposure

J. Feery , Nov 14, 1997; 01:26 p.m.

A thread in the nature forum suggests an interesting way of shooting a great landscape with a big(ger) moon. While in double exposure mode, use a telephoto (300mm or bigger) to shoot the moon alone first, then shoot a second exposure with a wider lens to include the landscape you like. My question is: how do you set exposure for that ? I know I need to change the ASA setting to compensate for the double exposure but I don't know how to expose the moon not to burn my slide ! BTW, should I focus to infinity for that ? Will I see the stars too - annoying ? Help me out please with your advices (for composition too please). ThanX. John.


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Rob Dalrymple , Nov 14, 1997; 02:09 p.m.

If I have a correct understanding of what you are trying to do, no compensation or changing of the asa should be necessary. (except to offset for any reciprocity failure) The object is to expose different areas of the frame with each exposure. First shot- you expose for the moon, the rest of the frame is dark (no exposure). with the second shot you expose the rest of the frame, (the landscape) while being careful not to have any exposure in the same part of the frame that your've already put the moon in. Since no part of the film should get exposure on both shots, you shouldn't need to compensate for it.

Glen Johnson , Nov 14, 1997; 02:29 p.m.

Actually, you'll need to experiment to see what you like, and to see what works in your situation. However, it isn't a bad idea to rate the film at somewhere between 1.5 and 2 times its ISO rating if you are going to put two exposures on the same frame - unless everything but the subject is black in both exposures. The effect will vary with the subject material.

Andreas Carl , Nov 14, 1997; 03:53 p.m.

No exposure compensation is necessary. Rate your film at the usual ISO. This is assuming that you photograph the moon against a black sky. The moon is bright! Stars are not a problem! Test your exposure first by taking a roll of film with the moon only (no double exposure) and bracket (test different moon phases). There should be good detail in the moon and a completely black sky.

I saw a postcard in a store recently showing Denver skyline and a beautiful full moon, except, that the silhouette of the Rocky Mountains was ABOVE the moon. So choose your composition carefully.

use_altavista@www.altavista.digital.com -- , Nov 14, 1997; 04:48 p.m.

Doing double exposure moon photos are much easier to accomplish with the grid screen. My double exposures involve shooting the scene and then adding a moon or vice versa. Naturally, you don't want the moon superimposed on your foreground subject so you have to know what part of the frame is empty. The grid lines divide the screen into boxes. When I am shooting a vertical composition, I call the full rectangular box on the top left box number one, and the other full box on the top right box number two. Within the box, I call the top left quarter A, the top right quarter B, the bottom left quarter is called C, the bottom right quarter is called D and right in the middle of the box I call area E. Since the moon takes up about one-fourth of a box with my 200mm lens, this is a useful way to keep track of the moon. When I shoot my scene, perhaps a dead tree in silhouette, I note the position I want my moon to be in so it won't overlap the tree. Perhaps I want my moon in vertical box number two at the C position (lower left hand corner). Then I shoot my moon and put it at that position before advancing the film with my finished in-camera double exposure. <BR></BR>From http://www.apogeephoto.com/mag1-3/mag1-3jg.shtml

Rev. Lester Mooney , Nov 14, 1997; 06:05 p.m.

Gently, have you all purchased your Kodak Professional Photoguide from Amazon.com as recommended by that guy at MIT?

Mark Hubbard , Nov 14, 1997; 09:01 p.m.

"Because we can" is probably the worst reason to do something in nature photography. As though we aren't enough out of touch with natural cycles, now we want to put a big moon where it will look pretty rather than where it is. Why bother to go outdoors to take photos?

Glen Johnson , Nov 15, 1997; 12:10 p.m.

The confusion outlined above, including the confident statements that you don't need any compensation because the sky will be black for one subject in one frame and for the other subject in the other frame is exactly why the easier way to guarantee a good result is to shoot two separate frames and use the classical montage technique, or modern digital drop techniques to put together the final image. If you are going to double exposure of a single frame, the burning and dodging options available during printing can help you get what you want too.

Frank Kolwicz , Nov 15, 1997; 12:22 p.m.

I agree, Mark, but I did this myself one time, out of boredom. A planned landscape shot didn't appear after waiting an hour or more at my location. I put the nearly full moon over Mt. Rainier, about 90 deg off its actual location at the time, both with a 600mm lens. The shot is not nearly as good as the setting moon and various rocks and arch I did at Arches N.P. without the foolery of cut and paste photography.

But, if the poster is determined to do this, here's a caution: your landscape (cityscape, whatever) should have a black sky too, or the color of the sky will print over the color of the moon unless the moon is completely burnt out (which would defeat the purpose of the technique since you could then just punch a hole in the film where you wanted the moon to SEEM to be.)


Peter T. , Nov 16, 1997; 08:11 p.m.

Proper exposure for the moon is claimed to be the the same as the "sunny f16 Rule". 1 asa at f16. Thus for asa 100 film 1/125 at f16 should be pretty darn close.

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