One percent

One percent? Probably less. Sunrise happens and the color is unique unto the day. It lasts but a moment. Special! It comes for a moment only long enough to savor but not to save perchance you have a camera to record the moment soon to be gone forever more. I love the impossible colors of sunrise. We hardly ever see the pastels again for the rest of the day. It is special. The moon? I cannot do justice to both. The moon is too brightly lit to properly expose in the same shot. it is a matter of choices. Or choice? Does the viewer get it? Moon? Color? Ephemeral beauty?


Depending. It can have many meanings?

I like to get to an event early. Better seat. Better view. Better picture. We arrive a couple hours early. Colleen is very good natured about it. I got great shots. No complaints. Sometimes you do sacrifice for the cause.

Early morning – moon – is a challenge. But I felt it was worth it with the interesting clouds lurking about. Different. Eerie! Crepe myrtle? I never saw one before coming to live here. It is a non sequitur that just creeped into the post.


Everyday a “shot”… I take pictures everyday. I try. With few exceptions… Today. The full moon. Ah!

Shooting the moon is a challenge. It is bathed in full sun in a dark sky and dark neighborhood. That creates an extreme for the exposure meter for which there is no image because the meter fooled into taking measure of the darkness in the overall picture. Ah!! You say. But I am set on “auto” everything… including auto ISO. This means I have to go into the menu and find ISO and switch it to manual for the purpose of a moon shot. And when you do, you get a reasonable shot of the moon. I do not shoot the moon often so my auto ISO setting (so helpful for me) remains “auto” about 99.9% of the time. 


Test. Limits. I test mine all the time. I test the camera all the time. Sunsets, the moon, they test the algorithm of the camera manufacturer in low light conditions. You pick you choose you shoot. Sometimes you win and sometimes not.

Detail, color, focus, all are factored in to make the image of my imagination. Then we see whether or not the camera was up to the test. In doing so there are compromises and choices to be made. Post processing can only get you so far. The idea, “I’ll fix it later in Photoshop.” is so wrong on so many levels.


I’m no astronomer. I can hardly pick out the north star. Morning star? Well, I got some celestial bodies, stars and/or planets. I just stuck the camera up against the window. Click. For those of us too lazy to control all aspects of exposure, “Program” mode is good. Very good. Night shots are hard. There are extremes in exposure that challenge any sensor. When I shot film it was nearly impossible to get a proper night exposure. I let the Sony RX100 just go do its programed exposure. Look what I got! I did not persist. I am resigned to poor astrophotography images. Eh? Colleen?

Meanwhile, the moon came out pretty nice. Focus is hard. There are no real hard contrasting edges. The moon is very bright. I got the sensor to fool itself. The clouds and the houses made for an interesting tableau. Auto – program, it worked for me. The sensor has some magical algorithms for night shots. No, I will not be getting a telescope anytime soon.


It was the supermoon. I can do moon shots. I do it in manual. It’s pretty easy to get a shot of the moon into my camera. Super moon – full moon when the orbit is closest to earth. The moon is 250,000 miles away. It looks better/closer in my mind. Meanwhile, I got moon shots. And clouds. And the moon in the clouds. And the moon covered by clouds.

The settings are critical to the exposure. Automatic actually does a fair job. But the moon itself is too bright and the craters and mountains are washed out if you go with automatic. So there is a bit of tweaking needed too. It ain’t perfect. But I got some shots and can show you. I learned and was surprised that the camera could capture the moon thru the clouds. Clouds have few enough details in daylight. The house and trees provided some sharpness for the eye to focus upon.


The moon. Camera or lens? I compared shots from the Sony RX100 VII and the Nikon Z5 w/ 100 macro lens. Too complicated? The Sony has an electronic telephoto that has the reach of my Nikon 80-400mm zoom. Sony on the left, and Nikon on the right. The Nikon image was enlarged. The detail in the Nikon is better but the enlargement ratio is a problem. What I can say is that in a pinch the Sony is a good telephoto camera. The Nikon has the larger sensor and better glass (lens) that should give it an edge if things are equal. Things are never equal. This was a test of the limitations of gear and what to do if given a choice. Sometimes I am not carrying both cameras when a shot of the moon is at hand. It’s good to know what your gear can do. My point? I can make the moon closer (bigger) with my Sony.

Win some

You would think I know everything there is to know about photography by now. Learning? Does it ever end? As a surgeon I learned new tips and operations all of my career. So, I guess the learning is never done. What?

Shooting out the car windshield is not recommended. The passenger may do it. So, grab shot – one where you just press the shutter for luck…. I got one. Colleen got one. Sometimes you win. Sometimes you lose. You guess. And meanwhile there is plenty to be critical about either image. And it is a small miracle that I am able to share them with you. It was for the clouds that the image was taken on the road to the Verrazano bridge. And it was for the moon on the NJT at dusk. Neither shot really had a chance. Surprise!

The clouds show. There’s plenty of foreground clutter. But the clouds are cool! And the moon shows up easily enough in the image. The evening afterglow shows up too. …counting the cars on the New Jersey Turnpike…

It’s early on in the resurrection of this blog. I wonder if anybody is listening?


Technical: Canon EOS 7D, 1/2000 sec, focal length 135, f29

Shooting the moon, at least I assume it’s the moon is a problem. The moon is brightly lit by the sun. And, no, you cannot use any kind of flash. The exposure is therefore like shooting in daylight. The problem is that moon is far away [I bet you knew that] and usually only fills a small portion of the image frame. The camera will tend to meter and overexpose the moon resulting in a bright spot with no detail or texture. I have written on the exposure in previous posts. I would start at f11 and 1/250 sec. If you want to make the shutter slower then you must make the f stop a larger number [or smaller opening].

During an eclipse things are just that much more difficult. Lately I have used a tripod and then gone to manual exposure. I will adjust and inspect each image for sharpness and exposure. With the LCD and a large memory card, the experiment can be checked right on the spot.

Here David got a simple crescent. I have been fortunate enough to get an eclipse in New York where the ambient city lights enhanced the cloud cover so that I got clouds as well as the moon in eclipse. The exposure requires a lot of juggling and a good tripod. For a reference see my post of 11/22 and 11/23/11 where I discuss the sun and moon.