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glass will give you some extra time, but anything longer than 1 sec will start to show blur with just about any lens.

Sometimes, though, you can use the moon's motion blur to creative effect. With a wide-angle lens and a small aperture (f/11 to f/22), you can create a "moon-burst" effect—radiating streaks of light around the moon, similar to a starburst—by exposing for a few seconds, typically.

Using even longer exposures, you can also create moon trails, similar to star trails. In fact, you will likely capture both moon and star trails in the same shot. Use your camera's long exposure noise-reduction control (found in the menu settings) during exposures of more than a few minutes.

As a Subject

Because the moon is very bright, you can typically use autofocus on it even in the dark, though in very dim conditions AF may fail you. But I prefer to engage live view, zoom into the moon at 100%, and manually focus (see "Bring Nature into live View," November 2009). This ensures perfect focus every time.

MOONLIT TUFAS Mono Lake, CA-This hour-long exposure at f/8 of star trails behind tufa formations was lit solely by the full moon. Canon EOS 5D with 12-24rnm f/4.5-5.6 Sigma EX DG lens; ISO 100.

If you want the moon to appear large in the image, you'll need a long telephoto lens. But even with a super-tele, it's surprising how small the moon appears in the image frame—you may need 500mm or more to get a reasonably big capture. Stacked teleconverters can help you get extra magnification, though these rob you of lens speed: a 1.4X converter takes away 1 stop; a 2X, 2 stops. Using a DSLR with a sensor smaller than full-frame also gives you more reach.

Even if you can't fill the frame with the moon, if you

get a really sharp image, you can always crop it later.

More important is exposure. This will depend on phase of the moon, air quality, cloud cover, and the position of the moon in the sky—as well as artistic considerations.

To retain detail on the bright side of the moon, switch your camera to manual exposure, and start with f/il at 1/125 sec, ISO 100. Experiment and review your test shots on your camera's LCD. Check your histogram to be sure you aren't overexposing any part of the moon—the graph should not spill far over on the right-hand side. It's usually impossible to record detail in both the bright and dark sides of the moon, so it's best to preserve detail in the highlights and allow the dark side to go black.

As a Picture Element

In any phase of the lunar cycle, the moon can be a great background element in landscape and wildlife photos. Usually, scenes with the moon in them will be facing away from the sun, but often, when nearing the new moon phase, a crescent will rise near the sun at sunrise, allowing you to capture the sun and the moon in the same photograph.

You don't always need to retain detail in the moon, especially when it's not your primary subject. Although an overexposed full moon will likely appear as an unattractive white blob, a slender crescent moon as a small element of a landscape photo looks fine without detail in its highlights. Bracket, your exposures (taking several different exposures at a range of stops) until you get a sense of which work best with each scene type and moon phase.

Multiple-exposure HDR (high-dynamic-range) imaging can be used to both render detail in a bright moon and in darker areas of a landscape. Take your multiple exposures as quickly as possible, using continuous or burst shooting, to minimize the moon's movement between frames—this makes it easier to digitally combine the images later.

Tele shots of landscape scenes or wildlife with the moon in the background can be very powerful, as telephoto compression renders the moon an unnaturally large size in the image.

But when you're shooting with a wide-angle lens, the moon will

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Reasonable care has been taken to ensure that the information presented in this book is  accurate. However, the reader should understand that the information provided does not constitute legal, medical or professional advice of any kind.

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