How to PHOTOGRAPH the MOON with FOREGROUND (with a TELEPHOTO lens)


Do you want to take photos of the Moon
like this one? Or this one? Or this one? You’re at the right place. Keep watching! (Pop) Hello PhotoPillers.
Rafael the Bard here. For February’s Full Moon Germán Marquès
(the developer of PhotoPills), Antonio Cladera
(the photographer of PhotoPills), and myself had planned a cool photo of the full Moon rising
during blue our next to the Favàritx lighthouse. A really beautiful lighthouse
that we have here in Menorca. This was the idea. And this is the photo Antoni took. Well, in this video
I’m going to show you how we went from an idea to a photo, including all the gear we used and all the camera settings we used. Ready? Because everything
begins with a plan. (Pop) Let me show you
the plan of the Moon shot. By the way, I’m leaving a link to the plan
in the description of this video, so you can import it
onto PhotoPills. So go to PhotoPills. Tap on Planner. And now let’s load the plan. Tap on Load. Tap on Plan. And let’s look for the plan… Here I have it! “Moonrise Favàritx Lighthouse”. Tap on it. And you actually see the actual plan
on the Planner. Pretty cool! The top panel is telling me that
on February 9th, the Moon rose at 06:28 pm. This is in the direction of
this thick blue line that you see here passing almost near the Black Pin. This one. And the Moon shot was
around 06:35 pm, the time that’s set in the Time Bar. And the Moon was right next to the lighthouse. Do you see this thin blue line with this thick blue line around it? That’s the azimuth line of the Moon. It’s telling me right where the Moon is going to be for the selected date
and the selected time. In this case I’m seeing also
the Moon size on the map which is super super useful to see the size of the Moon
compared to my subject. If you want to see the Moon size on the map
just tap on the map Settings button. Tap on the Moon layer. And make sure that you tap on
the Show Moon size button. This way you’ll be able to see the Moon size on the map and
compare the Moon size with your subject which is super super useful. But, let’s continue! Well, the cool thing about this Moon shot is that it happened during blue hour. at 06:35 pm it was blue hour. Remember that the blue hour happens when the Sun is below the horizon and below -4º and above -6º. So the elevation of the Sun is
between -4º and -6º. And then golden hour happens when
the elevation of the Sun is between 6º and -4º. So how do I know that at 06:35 pm. is actually blue hour? Swipe the top panels to the right to
get to panel number 3. And on this panel,
you have the elevation of the Sun which, at the time of the shooting, at 6:35 pm, was -5º. And this is blue hour because it’s between -4º and -6º. Pretty cool! This panel is super super useful
to understand natural light and to understand which kind of light
you’ll have at a time of the shooting. Take advantage of it! Now let me zoom out a bit to have a better look at the area
of the scene. And swipe the top panel to the right
to get to panel number 2. And this panel is key.
It’s super super important. If you tap on the bottom
you see on the panel, a Black Pin will appear on the map. This black pin is also key. Place the Black Pin on your subject or where you want the Moon to be. And when you do it,
the top panel will give you key information. To start with, it’s giving you the
distance between pins. This is the distance between your subject, if you place it right on your subject, and the Red Pin position,
your shooting spot. In this case, it’s 997.4 meters. But most importantly, it gives you
the Moon height above the Black Pin. This is the height
of the center of the Moon above the ground level,
where you placed the Black Pin. In this case, it’s 28 meters. But why 28 meters? Why do I want the Moon at 28 meters
in this case? Because the lighthouse is
28 meters tall. The lighthouse has a height of 28 meters. And I want the Moon to be
at the same height. Not on top of it, but next to it. So to plan this Moon shot what I did is
to set the date with the Time Bar to February 9th, the date of the Full Moon. When I place the Red Pin in that location, where the Moon will rise
next to the lighthouse according to this thick blue line
you see on the map. And then I moved time, I changed the time, I moved the Time Bar, I changed the time until my Moon was at 28 meters above the Black Pin level. Like this. Like this. And then I adjust my Red Pin position to have the Moon in the position I want it
relative to my lighthouse. This is at the same height, 28 metres. But next to it.
Not on top of it, but next to it. And finally, another cool thing
that the panel tells me is the size of the Moon,
the diameter of the Moon. In this case, it’s 9.6 meters. And as I told you before, you can also see
the size of the Moon on the map. Knowing the size of the Moon
really helped me understand how big it will be compared
with my subject. I made a cool video on how to plan this kind of long distance Moon shots where you get these big moments compared with your subject. You have it…
You have it there. Watch it, it’s super useful. OK, now that you know the shooting spot and the shooting date, let’s see the gear you need
to photograph the Moon. (Pop) To photograph the Moon of course
you’ll need your camera. And sometimes you’ll be shooting in low light conditions. Like the blue hour, for example. and you’ll have to push a bit the ISO up. So having a camera that performs well at high ISOs is a bonus. Also, you’ll need a telephoto lens. Yes, the shooting distance gives you the size of the Moon
compared to your subject. This is the distance between your subject
and your shooting spot, between you Black Pin
and your Red Pin position. But the size of the Moon
compared to the frame, to the photo
(you want to be a big Moon in the photo) depends on the focal length only. So the longer the focal length
the bigger will be the Moon in the photo. So if you want to center
the attention of the viewer on your subject
and on the Moon, use a long focal length. Just go long.
400mm, 500mm, 600mm if possible. Also, you can use a teleconverter. A focal length multiplier. It’s a great great device. And if you have a cropped sensor camera, congratulations! Take advantage of the multiplying factor
over your focal length to get a longer effective focal length. Filters! Do you really need filters
to photograph the Moon? Well Antoni didn’t use any filter
to photograph the Full Moon during blue hour. But, sometimes, when it gets darker and the Moon is much brighter
than the foreground, you can use a GND filter to balance the scene,
to get the exposure right. Sometimes it can help you
to get the exposure right. If you wish to master lens filters, I’m leaving a link to our super detailed long exposure photography with lens filters guide in the description of this video. Check it out because it’s an amazing guide. And last but not least, you’ll need a good sturdy tripod and ball head, and also a shutter release
or an intervalometer. The last thing you want is to introduce camera shake when you’re shooting. You want the moon to be
as sharp as possible. A good tripod, a good head and a shutter release or an intervalometer are key. Cool! Now that you know
the plan and the gear, let’s see how to actually
photograph the Moon. (Pop) On the planned day, arrive at the location
at least one hour before the shooting time. Place the tripod and head
right on the shooting spot. This is the Red Pin position. Make sure that the tripod is stable
and it doesn’t move. Press it against the ground to be sure that it won’t move. To be sure that I am
at the right shooting spot, I try to find references on the location that I can also find on the map, in PhotoPills app. If I can find a rock, a tree, something that I see on the location
and I also see on the map here I know that I’m at the right shooting spot. Also, you can switch on
your position on the map. Just tap on the Map tools button. And tap on the GPS to see your position on the map. It’s actually this button here. And a blue circle
will appear on the map, right where I am,
here in Madrid. This is me! I’m not in Menorca
at the moment. So what you have to do next
is to walk towards the Red Pin until the blue circle (your position) is centered
at the bottom of the Red Pin. Not at the top of the Red Pin. At the bottom of the Red Pin, where the Red Pin is in the ground. The GPS will help you a lot
to find your shooting spot. And finally, on location
you can use the Night AR button if you’re planning Star Trails
or the Milky Way, or the AR button if you’re
planning the Moon or the Sun, to visualize the shot
through the AR view. So you have here the horizon. The Sun is below the
horizon because it’s setting. Here you have the date
and the time of the shooting I’m looking for my Moon shot. So the Moon is actually
rising in this direction. If I swipe on the screen, I can change the time
and see how the Moon rises which is pretty cool. Take advantage of these Augmented Reality views. They are super helpful. Actually, as you see,
Toni did use them to visualize the shot and make sure that he was
at the right shooting spot. They are super super powerful. Next step is to attach the lens to the camera
and mount it on the tripod, and to connect the intervalometer
or the shutter release. And make sure that everything is stable. Set camera to shooting RAW and set the camera
to shoot in Manual mode (M). This way you have total control
over the exposure. Now, set the focal length you wish to use
to get the framing you want. Antoni Cladera used
a focal length of 440mm to get the Full Moon shot in Favàritx. The aperture choice depends on 2 things: the depth of field you want, and the natural light you have available. To start with
set an aperture of f/8, for example. It will give you
a great depth of field. And be ready to open the aperture a bit when the sunlight starts to fade away. For example, for the blue hour Moon shot, Antoni used an aperture of f/5.6 to allow more light into the system, to reach the sensor. Next step is focusing. And here I recommend you
to focus at your subject. It is much better to have
your subject tack sharp and the Moon a bit blurred than the other way around. You want the subject super sharp! (Pop) You can plan your field of view (what will be in the photo) (what will be in the frame) and depth of field (what will be in focus and out of focus) with PhotoPills. To do it just tap on
the Map Settings button and on the Map tools options choose DoF, depth of field. Here. And go back to the map. And now introduce the settings
you want to use for the shot. Here I’m using the same settings
Antoni used for his Moon shot. He used his Nikon Z6, a focal length of 440mm, an aperture of f/5.6, the shooting distance was the distance between the Black Pin and the Red Pin, this is almost 1km (997.4m). He shot in portrait mode. You can change it to landscape also. But he shot in portrait [mode]. And then,
for the direction of the shooting, you can decide to align with the Black Pin for example. Like this. And the field of view
will be aligned with the Black Pin. Or you can just drag
this dark circle you see on the map to place the field of view where
you want, the framing where you want. For example… Here it looks pretty cool. Awesome! The cool thing is that I can see
my field of view and also I can see my subject and also the size of the Moon right in one screen which is amazing
to understand the shot I’ll get. Let’s have a look at
the depth of field. Let’s zoom out a bit
to see what’s going on here… So I’m focusing at my lighthouse. And with these settings I’ll get in focus from 532.68 meters (this is the depth of field near limit), to… let’s see… the depth of field far limit… 7.82 km. This is going to be my total depth of field, what will be in focus in the photo
and out of focus. As you see, the moon will be
a little bit out of focus because the depth of field far limit
is not at infinity. Let’s understand why. I’ll zoom on the Black Pin, and here I have another key
depth of field information which is the hyperfocal distance. In this case, 1.14 km. What is that focal distance? Well it’s super super easy. The hyperfocal distance is the shortest distance you can focus at can focus that and keep infinity in focus, or “acceptably” in focus. If you’re focusing at a shorter distance, infinity will be out of focus. If you’re focusing at a larger distance, infinity will be acceptably “sharp”, acceptably “in focus”. And for this shot Antoni may focus at the lighthouse which is
at a shorter distance than the hyperfocal. That’s the reason the Moon is a bit out of focus. Let’s see what happens
if I close the aperture. If I use an aperture of… let’s say f/8, now the hyperfocal distance is at 808.45 meters. A shorter distance
than my focusing distance (the lighthouse). So the depth of field far limit
falls at infinity. And the Moon will be in focus. “Acceptably” in focus of course. We use the hyperfocal distance a lot. And understanding it is key. If you want to learn how to focus at
the hyperfocal distance in the right way, watch this video. It’s really only 1 minute long and you’ll teach you everything you need to properly focus at the hyperfocal distance. Well this is how you can easily plan your depth of field and field of view
with PhotoPills. Let’s move on! Let’s talk about the exposure now. To start, set the ISO to 100 or 200. Keep it low to avoid noise. And use the shutter speed that gives you
a photo correctly exposed. For example, you can start setting in a shutter speed of 1/160s. Take this shot. Check the histogram. And make the adjustments Push up and down the shutter speed
depending on the exposure you want. Never use a shutter speed above 1 second. Remember that the Earth is rotating, and the Moon is moving pretty fast. So the last thing you want
is to have a blurred Moon because of the motion of the Moon. So keep the shutter speed under 1 second. If the test shot is underexposed,
you can open the aperture a bit. If you do it make sure that you’re getting
a depth of field you want. Or you can push the ISO up if necessary. Depending on the noise performance
of your camera you can push it to 400, 800 or even 1600. Also, as the Full Moon rises,
the Sun is setting. So it’s getting
darker and darker. Therefore to nail the exposure, to get the exposure right, I recommend you
to bracket your exposure. Usually 1-stop bracketing
of 3 photos will be enough. But feel free to bracket
with a higher number of photos. The important thing here is to get the exposure right, to capture detail in the Moon
and also in the foreground. Remember, you’re in control
over the exposure. Open the aperture, decrease the shutter speed, or push the ISO up. Bracket, bracket, bracket! Well, following these
very same steps, Antoni Cladera got this amazing
Full Moon shot next to Favàritx lighthouse during blue hour. For the final shot,
he used his Nikon Z6, a focal length of 440mm, an aperture of f/5.6, a shutter speed of 1/20s, an ISO of 1600, and a white balance of 5600K. And if he did you can do it too. Just follow the same steps. Oh! And one last
piece of advice… If you’re photographing the Moon be always ready to move when you see
the Moon appearing, to readjust the composition,
for example. And remember that
if you move the Moon is following you. If you move to the right, the Moon will follow you
to the right of your subject. If you move to the left, the Moon will follow you
to the left or your subject. So be always ready
when you see the Moon, be ready to move. And the Moon moves really fast! So be ready for action. And that’s it. This is how you can take
amazing photos of the Moon with a telephoto lens. If you have a question,
please leave a comment below. I’m ready to help! And if you wish to keep learning, if you wish to learn more
about Moon photography, don’t miss
our super Moon photography guide. I’m leaving a link
in the description of this video. Don’t miss it
because it’s super super powerful. And if you like this video
give me a like, subscribe, and click on the bell to get notified
when I release the next video. And remember that you have the power
to imagine, plan and shoot legendary photos. Bye!

Comments 31

  • Thanks, this was very helpful 🙂

  • Need help planning or photographing the Moon? Comment below!
    👉 And check this guide to master Moon photography:
    https://www.photopills.com/articles/moon-photography-guide

  • So much information, so helpful.
    So grateful.
    Best app (developers) there is/are, you guys!
    Always improving on it, always giving us new videos and info.
    Kudos!

  • Wonderful guide to shoot the moon…. Great.

  • Awesome tutorial! Thank you for sharing your knowledge with us. Mill Gracias.

  • 📸🎬🎥

  • Não a tradução para português?

  • Thank you.Very informative

  • Can you supply some good weather as well as good tuition? In Scotland the forecast is rain on 3rd March….bummer.

  • WoW! Thanks!!

  • Nobody should purchase a camera without purchasing a copy of PhotoPills! Absolutely the best app ever for photo planning!! Your tutorials are spectacular as well.

  • Informative. Thank you.

  • boy, you just plain talk too fast in way less than perfect English for this american viewer and I use photopills a lot, can't watch your videos in English unless I concentrate very hard and go back and forth in the video.

  • Thanks, this is fantastic! So much great information, I'm going to have to watch this a dozen more times 😉

  • This is a great tutorial. I am having problems understanding due to my ears being used to southern drawl (USA for those not familiar). Is there a transcript available other than the one provided by Youtube? It didn't do so well with voice recognition either. This is NO disrespect to the presenter, who seems very knowledgeable.

  • Amazing! Thank you so much!

  • What a great explanation thanks – looking forward to my next full moon

  • You hurt my tiny brain. Can you develop a photopills microchip that I can get implanted?

  • Thank you. This video is perfect timing. I’m planning a photo shoot of the March supermoon over our State Capitol from a mile away using a 600mm telephoto lens. I followed your instructions except for the white balance setting. I have not thought about the white balance and how it effects the photo. How did you determine the proper setting? Thanks

  • Good afternoon. Can I install the program on my tablet?

  • So after you take the shot, what steps do you take in post processing to bring it all together? When bracketing on my canon 5d, I see 3 shots after doing so. I'm new at this so sorry if it's a dumb question.

  • Why on earth would two people give this a thumbs down? It's utterly amazing!!!

  • Thank you so much. I'm new to PhotoPills and have a lot to learn. So much information! I will look at your other links too. I hope I can get to grips with it before the 9th March 🙂

  • Without these videos the app would be almost useless to me it's so complex…thank you for helping us with these videos.

  • Great video! Definitely some really useful info. 🙌🏼

  • There are no better app developers i've seen than PhotoPills. Not only they developed a masterpiece for photographers but keep adding useful information to make it an amazing experience. Great job guys!!!

  • Question about crop sensor and the multiplier. Should we use the number on the lens or add the crop sensor and the multiplier. For example I have a canon 5Ti with a 70-300 lens and a 1.4 adapter. So at 300 x 1.6 x 1.4 = 672. So should I use 300 or ~670 when using photo pills? I do have a full fram, but only have a 70-200 EF lens, so I am glad I keep my older cameras. Great instruction on how to use PhotoPills. Thanks.

  • Excellent information, I am a armature photographer but keep getting better by watching your videos.

  • I assume you are manually focusing rather than using auto-focus? I often have difficulty getting tack sharp focus and I set up very much like you described in the video. I also use mirror lock up just to minimize shutter slap. I will also try to focus on my subject and then the moon and combine in post, but the moon has been a challenging subject for me!!

  • Thanks a lot very helpful. Now we hope at the weather is good tomorrow in south of Sweden. No clouds please. Photopills the best app.

  • Excellent guide for this amazing App! Thank you!!

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