Shooting the ISS and Moon

Tonight, I attempted to take a picture of the International Space Station (ISS) and of the past-full moon. I had the Canon 100-400mm IS lens that I rented for the Ericsson Golf Tournament.

Shooting the ISS did not work. I turned up the ISO to 1600, which seemed to give the right exposure, but I could not really get the ISS in focus. Plus, it was moving too fast across the sky. All I got were zig-zagging lines as I tried to manually track the ISS. The issue was not the tripod, but that I was trying to pan and I was not doing it smoothly enough.

Next, I tried the waning moon. This was also harder than I expected, although I learned enough that I think I can get a better shot next time.

I started with exposure. I continued to use the 1600 ISO setting, and opened the lens wide open (f/5.6 at 400mm). I let the camera determine the exposure. Looking through the viewfinder, it looked fine, but when I looked at the results on the LCD screen, it was an overexposed mess. I tried a few times, thinking that I made a mistake with the image stabilization.

I decided that since it looked over exposed that I should try reducing the exposure. I noted what the camera was attempting to do (f/5.6 and 1/15 second) and started reducing the time. 1/30, 1/60, 1/125s were tried and the image started getting better. I tried two more 1/250 and 1/320 before the moon ducked behind a cloud. These last exposures were better. Still far from perfect but I was getting close to the correct settings.

I’ll try again later before I have to return the lens.

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