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Jodie Saunders , Oct 12, 2008; 05:48 a.m.

I wish to take sunrise/sunset photos and pictures of the moon.

I have a Nikon D60 with an 18-55 and a 70-300 lens, what are the best manual settings to get the best possible sunrise/set picture and a good picture of the moon?

Sorry for being so vague but I'm new to this whole Digital SLR and going overseas, I'll only have one shot to get the good pictures and I don't want to stuff it up


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Robert Body , Oct 12, 2008; 06:34 a.m.

Normally it's the sunny 16 rule for moon shots -- like at ISO-200 it's the reciprical of 200, 1/200 (or 1/250) s at f/16.......... except when it's not

but usually you have more than the moon in the picture and that changes things... you get other things in right exposure but the moon is washed out

like so:

but that's way past sunset..... do you know for sure you will have the moon in the right spot at sunrise and sunset? There are ways to predict the position of the moon. I just know every night it's 30minutes behind where it was the previous night, that's what i found out for my uses

during the day the moon looks ok since it's the day exposure

what kind of focal length will you be using? 100mm and higher is better for getting the moon big enough

if you do closeups, this is 8% of a 300mm with 1.5x cropped sensor... you need a big lens for closeups

For sunset you want to bracket, if your D60 has it, i don't think it does, just do a sunny 16 above rule and go one stop below and one above, or just 2 below, so at ISO-200 and f/11 on a tripod, do 1/90s and 1/180s and 1/350s thereabouts -- it depends what else is in the picture........ you want take a picture look on the screen to get feedback or take 3 exposures and get feedback and take more pictures...... take 50pictures since everything could be changing every few seconds, the sun is falling...... if you seek perfection

sometimes the best pictures are after the sun has already gone down

Dwight Sipler , Oct 12, 2008; 07:21 a.m.

Sunsets are generally more interesting when there are clouds lit by the setting sun. However there are other cases where haze can produce a nice picture. In this picture the sun is overexposed, but there are enough other features to create some interest. Chesapeake Sunset For a sunset on the horizon you have maybe 15-30 seconds before the sun disappears. If you can, try several different exposures (digital pictures are free, and you can delete the ones that don't work).

Jodie Saunders , Oct 12, 2008; 07:36 a.m.

The sunrise I want to take is at Stonehenge, we are going there in December so I know I need a tripod but yeah I'm totally clueless with the settings, I haven't much knowledge of F/ stuff lol I need a dummies guide I think, plus I am guessing I'll need to keep the flash turned off

Leonard Forte , Oct 12, 2008; 08:04 a.m.

"Digital photos are free" I hear a lot of photographers say this and I fail to understand the reasoning or logic behind it. My camera wasn't free so how could it be free when I take a photo. The camera wears (the shutter is rated for a limited number of actuations)

Joe A , Oct 12, 2008; 08:22 a.m.

Jodie.... Practice HERE in November and maybe October. Try all different exposures and see what you like as far as the balance between the landscape and the Moon. Keep in mind you will able to get a good exposure for Earth and sky while blowing out the exposure on the Moon, or you will be able to get a good exposure on the Moon while underexposing (to silhouette) the foreground, With a recognizable subject like Stonehenge, the silhouette shots should be nice.

What dates will you be at Stonehenge? I'll let you know when the Moon will be the same in November and October.

Jodie Saunders , Oct 12, 2008; 08:34 a.m.

We are going to be there on December 29th and we're traveling from Australia

Joe A , Oct 12, 2008; 09:11 a.m.

Lots of time to practice sunrise/sunset photos, but you'll have a little problem with the Moon.

On December 29th the Moon is going to be a VERY VERY small cresent that is only 11 degrees above the horizon when the Sun sets. Pray for clear skies and no surface haze. It will be just south of southwest at 211 degrees - SW is 225 degrees. That is a very young Moon to find without a little experience, and you should practice for certain. December 30th would increase the odds and put the Moon at a better viewing level for a half-hour or so.

From Australia you should see a similar Moon at sunset on October 30th (15 degrees directly above the Sun as it sets), and on November 29th (15 degrees above and a few degrees to the right of the Sun as it sets). If you can find the Moon on Oct 30th and Nov 29th, you should find it at Stonehenge since it will set slower up here during the northern hemisphere's winter. Though it will still be tough since it starts lower in the sky on Dec 29th.

Elliot Bernstein , Oct 12, 2008; 10:35 a.m.

What I do is select the aperture I want to shoot with, then select a high enough shutter speed that produces an underexposed (dark) image. I then increase the shutter speed by 1 setting and continue taking shots until the image is bright enough that I would not use it. I then evaluate all the images on my computer. You can, of course, set the shutter speed and adjust the aperture by one stop to take a series of shots.

There are programs that allow you to combine different shots to produce a single high dynamic range image (HDR) to produce stunning results. Do a search on the internet to find more information about HDR images.

Rene' Villela , Oct 12, 2008; 11:09 a.m.


Jodie... That "f/Stuff" is really important! This is a really good book, easy to understand: "Understanding Exposure" by Bryan Peterson.


You have time to read it and practice before you get the chance to take those shots!

Leonard... Well, you are right but comparing how expensive shooting with film was, digital is really free!

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