Caprocks & Moonlight

Here’s another shot taken under a clear blue sky but in this case about an hour after sunset with only the light of the moon to illuminate the scene. Getting a shot like this is fairly simple if you remember three key rules:

  • Always turn on your camera’s Long Exposure Noise Reduction setting when shooting exposures over one second in duration. This setting will force your camera to take two exposures; one with the shutter open and one with the shutter closed. The in-camera processor will subtract any digital noise present in the first exposure that is not present in the second exposure, resulting in a theoretically noise free image. In my experience this really does work as advertised.
  • Always use a sturdy tripod for any long exposures. The number one cause of soft images is camera shake and no one can hand-hold a 20 second exposure, not even Joe McNally. I strongly recommend a carbon-fiber tripod over aluminum as the carbon-fiber legs dampen vibrations better than any other material currently available with the exception of wood.
  • Stop down your aperture to f/16 or smaller to create the star effect seen around the moon in this shot. Yes, you can cheat and create this effect in Photoshop but why not practice the craft of landscape photography and do it “in-camera” instead. I guarantee you’ll feel more proud of getting this shot “in camera” than you ever would in “post” and isn’t that why we practice this art form anyway?

Caprocks and Moonlight

Caprocks and Moonlight – Quitaque, Texas
Copyright © 2010 Jeff Lynch Photography
Shot taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mark II set on aperture (Av) priority using a Canon TS-E 24mm f/3.5 L II lens tripod mounted. The exposure was taken at 24mm, f/18 for 20 seconds at ISO 100 using Canon’s in-camera Long Exposure Noise Reduction. Post capture processing was done in Adobe’s Lightroom 3.

Click on the image above for a larger version.