Thursday, July 29, 2010

Shoot the Moon and Jupiter – D300 with 70-300VR

Those who have read this blog over the years know that I have a particular fondness for shooting images of the moon and planets with telephoto lenses. Having sold off my magnificent 300mm F4 AFS and TC17e teleconverter, I really don’t have the equipment any more for such adventures. But that has not stopped me. The Saturn images I got last time I shot the night sky kind of blew my mind … but I thought I’d take a shot with the 70-300VR and see if the Kenko 2x teleconverter was compatible for moon shots.

I’m sorry to say that I really could not get clean images. I needed high ISO just to get a reasonable shutter speed after losing 2 full stops to the Kenko, so I eventually removed it and shot the moon with just the 70-300VR from tripod this time with VR off.

The result is very pleasing …


Click on that image to see it in full glory … it’s more or less a 100% crop. I processed it aggressively, which drew out some grain, but I still like it. Lots of detail for an almost full moon.

Then I turned my attention to Jupiter. I first shot it with the moon’s setting and got a really dark image. Then I reset to shoot at planet settings, which unfortunately blows out the planet’s disk, but does find the moons. When I got these into CS5, I had the rather brilliant idea of combining them into an HDR image that looks way better than anything I’ve ever shot before.

I confirmed the location of the moons with the Juplet and added that info into the image. I am always impressed to find the moons right where they are supposed to be :-) … and remember that this is a simple consumer lens that I paid $400 for used …


Shooting the night sky is extremely pleasurable … I need a small telescope :-)


reenie said...

Hi KIm, I read your blog on Saturn a while ago n that inspired me to shoot the only bright planet available at the present time ,which is jupiter, with my S200. I was surprised i could photograph it not too bad , but to get the moons to show i had to over expose jupiter. Your moons seem brighter than the planet , as in you can see Europa infront of Jupiter . I ve only ever managed to get a faint black dot on the planet , which was the shadow of a moon n that was with a 8 inch telescope. What was your camera settings ? thanks, Paul ps Next time its clear here i m gunna try n attach my F72 or S200 to the telescope

Kim Letkeman said...

reenie: I processed each image separately, raising brightness on both with layers and screen blend. I then blended the two with Jupiter at the lower exposure superimposed on Jupiter at the blown out exposure (for the moons.) I noticed a bump on the edge of the blown out Jupiter that was obviously Europa, so when I blended the new Jupiter in, I clicked right on top of Europa in my layer mask to allow Europa to show through.

Take a look here for the exposure data for the two images: