The Light Slide

fun with photography

Shooting the moon and lunar eclipse, handheld

The Nikon 1 system J5 + 70-300 VR is an incredible combo. It's a lens that enables me to do stuff I'd otherwise never be able to do.

Check out this lightly edited, two-shot composite I made, handheld:

Here are the two shots I used to make it:

Here's how I did it:

  • Took sooo many photos of the moon during the eclipse event, and manually bracketed by about 3-5 stops from time to time to try to capture clouds and the shadowed area
  • I created a stack of the two in Lightroom
  • Opened in Photoshop as layers
  • Aligned them manually by adjusting the layer opacity (Auto-Align Layers failed because there wasn't enough overlap)
  • Tried Auto-Blend Layers but it was a mess, so reverted
  • Set the top layer, with the clouds, to lighten
  • Used the circle marquee tool to select the moon and de-select the shadow area
  • hit Delete (gasp!!)
  • Saved back to LR and did local adjustments of texture, clarity, contrast and sharpness to the moon surface using the radial mask (and range mask to exclude the shadow)

And yeah, I know, I know… my editing methods are archaic… I've used Photoshop since version 3.0 (1994!) and I know I should be using layer masks and adjustment layers but I wanted to just get 'er done, not reread tutorials to refresh my memory. Ha.

And I know that anyone with an actual telescope and a better camera could out-do it. But I don't take photographs to burnish my ego but because I love doing it. There's no point in doing something if your only goal is to be the best ever; somebody, somewhere, will always outdo you.

I like it.