Taking pictures of the moon: tricking my camera to choose a short shutter time

So yesterday night the moon was quite pretty and bright. So I thought I would take a picture of it.

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All these photos are cropped from the maximum 8x zoom of my Canon PowerShot A4000 IS.

Now if any of you own this camera you know that you can’t manually change the shutter time. So when photographing the moon, it will choose a much too long shutter time, and the moon will just be a white disk. But I managed to do it in a clever little way anyway. Process outlined below:

  • Select Program mode
  • Zoom in to full extent
  • Set 2 second self timer (important!)
  • Set ISO to 100
  • Set exposure to -2
  • Point camera at your smartphone screen displaying a white image at full brigthness
  • Half press shutter – voila, exposure time 1/200
  • Keep shutter button half pressed and move camera to point at moon
  • Press shutter all the way to take a nice picture.

The bit about the self-timer turns out to be important. Because otherwise the camera continually readjusts the exposure time, making this trick fail. Anyway, I think this was a clever little method.

Some of the pictures are at 1/60 as well. And with different exposure levels. But all in all, a big improvement over bright white disks.