The Moonshot Testshot

September 28th is coming up quickly.  And I need to test out this year’s photographic experiment.  Because if I don’t have everything dialed in perfectly by September 28th…

Suffice it to say, defeat is not an option.

Last night, at around 10:00 p.m., I set up the Nikon Df camera, along with my steady tripod, in the middle of a quiet street in my neighborhood.  Really, there’s very little traffic in the Town and Village of Green Island after 10:00 p.m.  Very quiet neighborhood.

In the sky – a waxing gibbous of the moon, as it glimmered through gauzy, wispy clouds.

Let’s do this.

I’ve recently test-shot pictures with my new Rokinon 500mm f/8 mirror lens.  And with the 2x teleconverter attachment, I’ve gotten some very amazing and tight photos from long distances.

Now comes the test.  Can I get a decent shot of the moon from here on Earth?

Nikon Df at the ready.

The dreamlike clouds slowly drifted away from the satellite.

Have I got this dialed in?

Finger on the shutter.


Moonshot, Waxing Gibbous, July 27, 2015.  Nikon Df camera, Rokinon 500mm f/8 lens with 2x teleconverter.  Photo by Chuck Miller.
Moonshot, Waxing Gibbous, July 27, 2015. Nikon Df camera, Rokinon 500mm f/8 lens with 2x teleconverter. Photo by Chuck Miller.

Holy green cheese, Batman!  That is the closest moonshot I’ve ever achieved!

The 2x teleconverter helped get the moon almost full into my camera’s shooting frame.  This is sweet.

Okay.  Next test will be Thursday night, when the full moon is high.  It will be the second full moon in July, also known as the “Blue Moon.”  More tests, more shots, more attempts.

Because September 28th is coming up quickly.

And I need to have all my tests completed before that date.

On September 28th, I will have one opportunity and only one opportunity to get the photo of my dreams.

And I plan on being ready for it.


6 thoughts on “The Moonshot Testshot”

  1. What was your shutter speed there Chuck? Don’t mean to be a killjoy but even at this small size it’s pretty blurry. Those long lenses can be hard to focus (though the moon is pretty close to infinity, just don’t tell Neil DeGrasse Tyson I said that), but it’s a faster moving target than a lot of people think so a relatively short shutter speed is needed, definitely over 1/100th, 1/250 is pretty safe.

    Am I remembering correctly that the 2xTC doubles the focal but drops the effective aperture to f/16? It’s been a while. If so, 1/200th, ISO 400, bracketing a stop on both ends should get the job done I guess.

    Gonna do some astrophotography next? 😉


    1. I believe I was 1/125, ISO 400. Again, this was my first try with the moon – didn’t feel like waiting for a full moon, figured I’d test while I can. I also didn’t use my manual shutter release; this was more of a test to see if the mirror lens would handle a full shot of the moon at 1000mm or if I should have foregone the teleconverter and went with a 500mm shot.

      As for “gonna do some astrophotography next?” – you mean to tell me all those star trails I’ve taken over the years WEREN’T part of astrophotography? 😉


      1. Yeah without a cable release that’s even more difficult, unless you used the timer? And mirror lock, but you know all this stuff I think. Also, is the camera body mounted on the tripod? Not sure how heavy that lens is but maybe worth looking into a collar so you can balance the weight.

        You could try bracketing both ways too, shutter speed and ISO. I do think 1/125 might be too slow, I can’t remember what I tried but it was also handheld IIRC so it was pretty high. You’re kind of enticing me go down the rabbit hole of lens adapters for Sony now, it’s dangerous…

        Nah, I mean like Saturn, Jupiter, nebulae. Is what you’re using T-mount? Should be ready to attach right to a telescope then but that’s outside my wheelhouse.


        1. The Rokinon is a T-mount, and I have a T-mount to Nikon F-mount adapter, so we’re good there. Not ready to photograph planets yet. Kinda working on taking care of some moon shots first.


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