A Handheld Moon…

Every article I have ever read on how to take pictures of the moon stresses the importance of a tripod, a cable release, a minimum of f14 and a shutter of @ 1/5ish second. I do not think I have ever seen a post about taking a photograph of the moon without using your tripod. Maybe they are out there somewhere, I just have not found any. While a tripod is critical as the moon is rising, two hours into its nights journey it is absolutely capable of being shot hand held.

My sudden discovery of being able to get a respectable shot of the moon hand held came purely on a whim. I had gone down to the bay to catch the full moon rising over the water. The park I intended to set up in was still closed because of Miss Sandy so I had to move down the road a bit and find direct access. I had no idea that there was a specific name for this April full moon – The Pink Moon – or as I have just discovered a moon with a partial eclipse occurring. My wife tells me it is also know as the Wind Moon. Wow, think I am a bit sheltered? I think I may shelter myself intentionally because of my field of employment (perhaps a blog on that some day?). But before that tangent develops back to this moon stuff.

Over the Bay

f32, 4 seconds, iso 400, ND filter

There are times when you absolutely, unequivocally, without a doubt need to use a tripod. I had the ND filter on because I wanted long exposures and in this case four seconds was about as slow as I could go before she became over cooked (hence, blow out or too bright). I figured that would help with the bay as well. The moon moves very fast…..at times I did not know if a little blur was from tripod shake (most likely) or movement from the moon. One of these months I will experiment with really long exposures and see how fast it really appears.

Done for the evening and arriving at home, as I backed in my driveway the moon was saying hi to me through the trees.Tempting me to shoot more. Conflicted I was. Had things to get done before Elementary came on. I watch four shows on TV, that is one of them. Easy enough decision when you are unpacking your car and the camera is in your hand. I found a clearing and took a couple of shots sans tripod. I was surprised at how they came out. I was even more surprised when I got them on the computer and noticed they actually had detail in them. A late night to come….

After Holmes and Dr. Watson concluded out I went…..

I had a 200 prime on my camera. This is uncropped to give you the actual view I had.  f5.6, 1/200

UncroppedK, looks every other moon shot but it is hand held and their is shape and detail.

So I took another one with a slight adjustment: f4, 1/200. And a little bit of crop….

f4, 1/200

Back to a 5.6 and now totally impressed when I zoomed in on the viewer.

5.6 1/200

Concluding with an f6.3 and just blown away. Fully Cropped.


Why did I not know this? Why didn’t anyone tell me this was possible? How may times did I pass up a moon shot because I did not want to get a tripod out of my car? I guess it is: learn the rules, break the rules, the rules are just guidelines anyway… I love learning new things! Even more so when I discover them myself rather than from an educational source…..The simple pleasures are the best……

I am an ocean boy, I love the water. Before I retired for the night I checked what time the moon was rising the next day. Perfect. Late enough for me to perform my dance dad duties and get to the beach just before it rises. But I shant bother you with more moon pictures before signing off, just a picture of the moonlight.

Moonlit ocean  Thanks for stopping by! Till next time…

A Little Change of Pace

About a year ago when this whole adventure began, I had purchase a very inexpensive set of Fotodix extension tubes to see if I would like Macro photography. I had never really experimented with them for one reason or another so for a little change of pace I decided to put them on and see what I could come up with. The set comes with three interchangeable length tubes for varying magnification levels. All together you get an adapter ring, 7mm, 14mm and 28mm tubes which you can use separately or all together.  As the name states, these are just tubes, cylindrical  hollow pieces of aluminum. No mirrors, no electronics. Focusing is done manually though a combination of moving back and forth and using the manual focus adjustment on your lens.

For $14.95, I think they are worth it if you are just starting out or you, like me, want to see what Macro Photography is like without investing in a true macro lens. For these experiments I use the full set of tubes and an 85mm lens.

First up on the hit list is a roll of funky colored duct tape. Good job catching the interwoven patterns.

Duct Tape

From the cave to the living area I went, pausing at my daughter’s eye

Britt eye

One of the first things I noticed is that there is an incredibly narrow focus point. Incredibly narrow as in if you are off by the width of a hair, you go blurry. Very little wiggle room. Since there are no electronics you have to rely on shutter speed and iso to control exposure.

Off to the great outdoors we go and since the weather is getting nicer things are beginning to grow. First up the roses. And it looks like the insects are already building a home.

Rose Bud

While there are many plants beginning to show growth, the weeds are already grown…I am really liking how it captured the little spiral thingy’s on this dandelion. Even the most annoying things can be interesting.


I have no idea what this little fellow is called. I doubt I even would have noticed this if I was not looking for small subjects.

weed of no name

A positive outcome so far, my only gripe is the difficulty focusing but the results are decent. Static objects are doable with these tubes. Back to the cave for the next series of tests. A bowl of water, a gelled flash and a colorful garment to put underneath said bowl of water.

Well, that difficulty focusing was magnified ten fold trying to capture water drops. Almost impossible handheld and even difficult with a tripod.This next image is from my set up testing shots. Not nearly in focus but I really like the reflections and the colors from it.


And one of the handful I had enough patience with to find a sweet spot with.


The red and white dish towel was replaced with a funky summer shirt


I then increased the height of the drop, hoping to get a bigger splash. Even though I was not able to find a decent focus point I did manage to get another really cool reflection/color shot. A bit artsy even.


So with static objects the extension tubes provide a good but narrow understanding of Macro photography. I may experiment with each size and a couple of different lenses as the flowers start to bud and bloom. But no more water drops. At least not until I can get my hands on a true Macro Lens.

Thanks for stopping by, till next time!