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Shooting the Moon

There are several major astronomical events scheduled to happen for the latter part of 2013. From December 10 - 14, the comet ISON will be quite visible in the night sky. There is also the Leonid meteor shower that occurs during the autumn months as well as the chance for some great photography involving Earth's nearest celestial neighbor: the Moon. Our friends over at Improve Photography have a few tips for the novice night-time photographer to use when trying to capture great images of Earth's nearest neighbor. We have only a few things we'd like to add to their list. Shooting the Moon1) Silhouettes are awesome. If you can capture images of people or objects against the moon, they will generally always look great. You will get major bonus points if you can recreate the famous flying bicycle shot from E.T. (even more points if you do so by actually befriending an extra-terrestrial). 2) If you can make use of the optical illusion of the moon being larger on the horizon, do so. Some of the most interesting photographs are the ones you have to look at for a while to figure out what exactly is going on. 3) If you're living in an area that is very dry and sandy, you can set up a photo-shoot that makes it look as if you are taking pictures of an alien moon from a moon-like location. With careful photo-editing, you can sometimes make it look like an artist's rendition of a non-Earth planet. 4) The moon against a spray of stars is always awesome. 5) Sun dogs and moon dogs are things that should be photographed whenever possible. They are really fun to look at. 6) Getting used to shooting the moon can help you advance in your astrophotography so that soon you'll be capturing images of Jupiter, Mars, and other distant stars and nebulae. Nebulae are great. Just about any camera can be used to get a start in night-time and night-sky photography. However, a camera that will let you adjust the ISO settings all the way down would be preferable over one that will not. And, if you want to take photos of what you see in your telescope, you may need to look into finding the proper mount to do that. Still, photography isn't just about what you can get during the daylight hours. The night provides a wonderful chance to see Earth and her neighbors in a much different light. -- da Bird
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