NIKON Coolpix P900 :: Photographing The Moon


[Music] so that footage is footage that I shot last night I came home from dinner and it’s been very overcast here lately and that is the new flower moon and I saw it peeking out from behind the clouds ran into the house grabbed my camera my tripod went out in the yard and shot the moon and this is part of something I’ve been working on for the better part of this year and I want to talk about in this video today I have a project in mind I have no idea what it’s going to look like in the end or what it’s going to end up being but I want to involve the moon somehow and so I’ve had this in my mind for a while and I wanted a good starting place and I wasn’t sure where to start so much like a painter would work you’ve got to grab a pencil and a sketchbook and just start drawing I’ve been grabbing my camera and I’ve just been shooting the moon and trying to do this in different ways [Music] so the original plan was tonight I was going to set up outside and show you guys exactly how I do this but as you can see it is more than a little overcast out here and of course the top is down the Jeep which is going to guarantee that it will rain so I don’t think we’re going to get a lot of moon tonight and I’m not even really sure where this project is going like I mentioned it’s just something where I’ve been taking a lot of pictures and making these little movies and I share them on social media and inevitably every time I do that somebody asks me what lens are you using so I’ll talk you through some of the gear that I’m using for these moon shots so this is the Nikon Coolpix p900 which is Nikon’s version of a bridge camera now this is not a great camera and I’ll get into that in a second there are people who make great bridge cameras like Sony and Panasonic I reviewed the Sony RX10 III last year but it’s also very expensive and the whole idea of the bridge camera is that it’s somewhere between a DSLR but it has a fixed lens so it sort of has a point-and-shoot “ness” to it and they usually put a super long telephoto zoom length in here and that is the key with this one now like I said this is not a great bridge camera it’s very plasticky feeling it does not shoot raw the video capabilities are extremely limited it is horrible in low-light but it does have a I believe it’s a 24-2000mm range of focal length on here so that will get you very close to the moon which is why I like to use this camera for that now the thing about shooting the moon is you actually don’t need a lot of performance out of a camera to get good images because the moon essentially is just reflecting sunlight and so as long as you can get into manual mode and manually adjust that exposure that’s where a lot of the problems come from when people try to shoot the moon is basically the moon is this bright object that’s sitting against a very dark space which is just the night sky and when you try to shoot that even in the daylight it gets difficult to do because what’s happening is the meter is trying to split the difference somewhere between the bright areas and the dark areas of the exposure so it’s really essential that you get into manual exposure to do this you don’t need a lot of ISO performance the other thing that’s nice about this camera is it does have I believe it’s optical image stabilization in here but it’s good enough and you kind of do need that when you’re at really long telephoto lengths if you’re shooting still images I use a tripod for everything and I’ve had some wind issues on the tripod and the other thing is this optical image stabilization – some cameras just do this it does this thing where if the cameras sitting still it just turns itself off and so I can get really jiggly right before you take the picture and so sometimes you just kind of have to move it around it’s very janky but you can get used to shooting on this there are a number of ways that you can go about getting a long telephoto lens to photograph the moon and I’ve done some of these in these videos before I’ve used crop sensor cameras with adapters and then really long 35mm manual focus lenses that work certainly well your best option is probably going to be to actually buy a telescope but I didn’t want to get into that for me this is a special use camera and for the price that you can get these at try to find anything with a 2,000 millimeter focal range on it you’re just not going to and so for me it’s a special used camera I treat it kind of like a GoPro you’re not going to do a whole feature length movie on it but when you need it for one scene or something specific it’s there and it does the job the idea of incorporating the moon into some kind of project has been something that’s been on my mind for a long time and this was originally inspired by two of my favorite photographers Keith Carter and Lisa Oppenheim who are very different photographers but approach the moon in two very different ways Keith has this sense of mysticism maybe this this sense of metaphor to his work in the way he incorporates the moon and I’ve even seen him do some alternative process methods like actually making collodion prints out of moon transparencies whereas Lisa Oppenheim comes at it from a very different perspective being a conceptual artist and she’s done some amazing stuff with the idea and the image of the moon and the moon to me is something that’s fascinating it’s something that has been with humans since the dawn of time it’s something we’ve all had experience with it goes in these cycles that are somewhat predictive we’ve only ever visually been able to see one side of the moon it only exposes one side of itself to us nobody’s ever seen the dark side of the Moon unless you’ve gotten satellite or something to go around or have been lucky enough to been an astronaut but there’s something very fascinating about it there’s a utilitarian purpose that the moon serves and there’s also kind of this mystical kind of purpose that people have had certain beliefs around the moon like it controlling our own sanity even so it’s something that I think is just really special to human beings and very unusual photographing the moon does come with an interesting set of challenges in that we know what it looks like the way our eyes work we sometimes perceive it to be closer than it actually is we have a field of view to what our eyesight is but sometimes in juxtaposition to buildings or and it does visually appear slightly larger when it’s near the horizon and can change colors sometimes depending on what the lights doing what the Sun is doing in relationship with where the Earth is but there is a certain predictability to the way we have seen the moon it’s just been done a lot I talk about it all the time you have your typical NASA shot which is what a lot of my stuff looks like it’s just kind of redoing that you’re just seeing the plain moon full usually or some kind of crescent against a dark sky so what do you do with that what are the possibilities that are there and that’s just kind of why I’ve started photographing that and been working on that this year so I can just start doing it and start getting a feel for that so I’ve been thinking about this a lot and and maybe it would be interesting to make this one of the photo assignments I don’t know it’s hard to do if you don’t have a long telephoto lens or a camera where you can definitely control all the manual exposure but maybe that’s something that would be interesting to try at least I don’t know I’d love to know your thoughts on that and have you guys photographed the moon and what is your experience with that I think that a lot of these issues that I’m talking about our commonalities because when you are photographing something you want to try to make it creative and put your own voice into it and the moon is familiar as it is to everybody and has been since the beginning of mankind I think there’s also a challenge there to make it unique so the original plan the moon is going to rise before sunset so I was going to get out and actually record this video while I was making pictures so I could show you what I’m doing and unfortunately for the cloud cover that’s the hand I’m dealt so c’est la vie anyway so that won’t happen tonight I’ll have to do that in a future video so if you enjoyed this video though please remember to like it share it subscribe to the Art of Photography for more videos and I will see you guys in the next one until then later

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