Zooming in on the Moon

Hey, everyone. About a week a ago, I was out running some errands. When I finished up at the gym, it was still a gorgeous afternoon, warmer than it should have been for this time of year. It was alarming in how warm it was, which it made it harder to enjoy than it would have been a month or so from now. The sky couldn’t have been bluer, though, and with a big gibbous, just a couple of days from full, rising in it, I had to stop and stare.  I grabbed this photo of the moon rising over the highway and train tracks.

Not bad right?

The Moon Rising, March 10, 2017
The Moon Rising, March 10, 2017

Years ago, in another life, I guess, I was a passionate photographer. For a long while, taking pictures was part of who I was. The passion hasn’t changed or faded, the priorities and the free time have. I still love the smell of fixer and developer on my hands, and my house is lousy with decades-old cameras, folding ones, rangefinders, twin-lens reflexes, Polaroids, Kodak Brownies. You name it. My mind was full of exposure values and f-stop & shutter speed combinations.

It’s pretty great to be able to grab a camera from when my parents were kids, toss in a roll of HP5, do some work in my bathroom-slash-darkroom, and have a long strip of negatives. It’s not instant, but that’s part of what I love about it. Like watching the skies, and life itself, it’s slow and steady. Done with care and patience, it’s calming and meditative. I really should get back it it.

From time to time I’ve posted shots I’ve taken with a pocket-sized digital camera, which I set on a tripod, set to its slowest shutter (15 seconds), and then walk away from. Often people will ask me what I got, how it looks. I’ve come to enjoy the looks on their faces when just tell them, as I sit on the curb with crickets chirping in the distance, “I don’t know.”

Just last month, though, my wife decided it was time, so, now, I have my first smart phone, for better or worse; an LG Aristo. Right around the same time, I became really inspired by posts like this one from Saturn Citizen, who writes great stuff at Aperature Astronomy, which I think you’ll like, too. Please check it out when you have the time.

I’ve started to use my phone’s camera, and the Camera FV-5 app, more, and really enjoy what it can do. If you look closely at the photo above, you can even see surface features on the moon. Can’t see it? It’s pixelated, but here’s a zoomed crop of it.

Zoomed Crop of the Moon Rising, March 10, 2017
Zoomed Crop of the Moon Rising, March 10, 2017

I’ve never tried to photograph the moon. It’s always been about exposing for the stars, and just letting the moon be a bright blur off to one side or the other. It was pretty exciting to be able to see the moon’s maria, and imagine where the Apollo astronauts walked, in a photo taken with pocket-sized supercomputer that’s more camera than phone. The 10-year old in me, swooning over his 110 camera and his Commorodre 64 wouldn’t have any idea how to understand any of this.

It was a pretty nifty moment, leaning against my car, drinking from my water bottle of water. A couple of people I know from around town stopped to ask what I was looking at. We chatted about a few things, talked about the sky. I turned and pointed Venus out to them. I still don’t know their names, but we had that moment together.

Now, if only the skies would clear again…

 

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2 thoughts on “Zooming in on the Moon

  1. Awesome picture, and great job with the overall color and brightness of the sky. I have FV-5 as well, though I’ve used it only a limited number of times when I tried to stack deep sky objects.

    And thanks for the call-out!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks! I wish I could say I did anything special to get the good color and brightness, other than trusting my photographic instincts. 🙂 I haven’t tried any stacking or anything, but I really like FV-5’s flexibility. The stock app is surprisingly good, but I like what FV-5 can do. It was worth the four bucks, I’d say, even just for the shutter priority mode.

    …and you’re welcome!

    Like

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