Saturday, March 19, 2011

How Much Bigger?

How Much Bigger
Like a lot of people I've been outside tonight marvelling at the size of the so called "Super moon," or Lunar Perigee to give it it's proper name. It's pretty damn big.
I don't shoot the moon that much (maybe four times in total now) but I did have a few shots of a lovely full mon from last year. Just to see exactly how much bigger it is tonight I took two images, shot using the exact same camera and lens combination and photoshopped them on top of each other: On the left is tonight and on the right is a full moon from October 2010.

I also got my hands on a 400mm f2.8 and 2x converter earlier in the evening (thanks Andy) with a plan to get a bigger, better shot of the moon in mind. I also got a handy sms heads-up (good call Andy) that I could stack my own 1.4x converter on to the 2x so that the 400 would become an 1120mm lens. This coupled with the 1.6x crop of my 20D body gave 1792mm!! This is sucha high magnification that I was on ly getting about 3 shots before I had to re-align everything. I could easily see the move drifting across the view finder, which a little humbling when you consider that you're actually seeing the world move through space!!
As Big As It Gets
Normally, the 2x converter results in less than great image quality so I was a little wary of stacking the 1.4x in there as well. But, with the moon being about 30% brighter as well tonight, I was shooting aound f11 and 1/250th. Image quality is pretty nice considering how much extra glass was in there. 
100% crop of 1792mm image (sharpened and Noise reduced in LR3.3)
Incidentally that 400mm is massive! If I ever get one of them I'll have to factor in the cost of a serious tripod to keep it steady. My (not so) little Manfrotto was visibly quaking tonight! Thankfully mirror-lockup with the 2 second timer, a cable release and a little patience seemed to get me by.
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