February's Fantastic Finale ~ Full Moon Photography ~ iPhone v.s. Nikon

Last weekend of February warmed up beautifully just like the weatherman predicted. The sun came out... lots of snow melted... and by the time darkness fell, thoughts of the full moon had completely fled my mind.

While visiting with my son that evening, I happened to spot a dull orange ball blazing over his shoulder through the sliding glass doors.

"HOLY COW! Will you look at that!"

Making our way to the sliding glass door overlooking Houghton Lake, the Worm Moon had just popped up over the tree top trees on the horizon. Taking the opportunity to attempt the low-light iPhone photography tips learned recently, I took aim and shot.

Oops! I forgot to turn the flash off. The flash can be quickly turned off by touching the lightening bolt icon on your screen. Mine is located on the top left, and as soon as I touched it, it made a slash through it to show it was off.

Oops! I didn't get the moon focused. I needed to touch the screen where I wanted the camera to focus.

Got it! The third time is the charm :-) After touching the focus area, I drug down the exposure bar to the right of the subject and made the lighting show a little darker so the moon color would pop a little more.

As you can see, some smart phones are capable of capturing a low light photo such as the full moon. Taking into account this photo was shot through double-pane glass without the aid of a tripod, it's not too bad. But it's not a show stopper either.

Being a little rusty with manipulating the manual settings of the Nikon D300, I got it mounted on the tripod and set-up outside on the porch, then took aim. After three shots, I was able to capture this image of February's Full Moon using a 500mm lens with these settings: f//11, 1/125s, ISO 2500

My February full moon picture turned out pretty good. I loved the color of this month's full moon, and the Nikon captured it so much better than the iPhone. But being the moon was the main subject, I think the image could have been better focused.

I prefer the craters to be sharper in focus and the edges of the moon to show its bumpy texture. With only 1 full moon per month (if the weather cooperates) makes it a difficult capture to be sure! Having taken winter moon shots for years, and knowing the least bit of camera movement - be it from wind or from shivering while depressing the shutter button - will cause your image to appear 'softer.'

Also, the downside of a close-up such as the Nikon image above is you're not seeing the full story like you are in the iPhone shot. Seeing the moon framed with the silhouetted trees of the shoreline makes the story a lot more interesting, don't you think? Add to it the moonlit ice and snow and you can almost feel the nip in the air on this February night.

So tell me... Did you get a picture of February's full moon? If not, you'll want to be ready to capture April's Supermoon. Stay-tuned for updates...

Thanks so much for reading!

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