How do people shoot very large moon views?

  • I see pictures of the moon that looks like it is very close to the earth; I am wondering whether they are real or is there a trick to show the moon that big?

    Here is an example:

    If it isn't faked with a moon shot overlay, it will be with a long lens or cropping to get the appearance of a long lens, probably both.

    This particular example appears to be real. However, it's also often faked. If you see a spectacular huge moon over a wide-angle view (commonly, a city skyline), be suspicious.

    If you have a really big zoom lens, and the moon is close to the horizon, and you are far enough away from the subject you want to place with the moon, then you can get that kind of shot.

    The Nikon P1000 has a 3000mm effective focal length at maximum zoom. It shouldn't fit in the frame the short direction.

  • MikeW

    MikeW Correct answer

    8 years ago

    Those are done using the compression of a telephoto lens. Longer lenses will magnify the subject, so will make the moon look bigger. It will also make buildings and other objects bigger, but by moving yourself further away from those earthbound objects you can reduce them back to a smaller size. But you can't really get further away from the moon, so it will remain the same size no matter where you move locally.

    So in your example, that might look like it was taken from a short distance away with a 50mm lens, but in fact it may have been taken much further away with a 500mm lens. Result is the foreground looks about the same as if you'd taken it closer with a 50mm lens, but the moon on the other hand is magnified quite a bit.

    If such a shot were made with a normal 50mm lens, you would have a small moon and small buildings because you would be so far from the buildings to get that perspective. Now crop a tiny spot out, and imagine high resolution the normal lens cannot give you. Same thing.

    I once photographed the moon with a 500mm and still it was much further away compared to the example given. Are there other factors that matter? Or is this a crop?

    For me it really clicked when I saw the pictures in this article. The first image shows a man totally encompassed by the outline of a solar eclipse. The second image shows the setup of the photographer 1.5 miles away, with a huge telephoto lens and extenders on a crop-sensor camera for maximum magnification.

    That helps to understand how photos can "lie", which most people don't even know is possible without editing. Thank you.

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Content dated before 7/24/2021 11:53 AM