I’ve only taken one photography course, and that was a dismal experience. I didn’t learn anything, and the, realizing what I knew, teacher asked, “Why are you here?” Since then, I’ve learned from other photographers. Yes, I’m self-taught–with a good deal of help.

On Wednesday night, I learned how to shoot the moon just before the blue hour. Janet invited me to the Capitol Mall in downtown Sacramento. It’s a good thing I asked her what lenses to bring, etc. I thought we’d be night shooting and we’d need long shutter speed. Fortunately, she sent me the photo she took last year and said she shot it with a 300 mm lens. Wow, was I on the wrong page!

So, I packed my F4/300 mm fixed and 55 – 300 mm lenses and tripod. When we arrived, she told me I needed to shoot with a fast shutter speed, at least 125, to stop the moon’s movement. While we were setting up, she showed me how to use live view to focus on the State Capitol Building and moon. Then the moon rose–on the opposite side of the capitol. We all scurried to get the shot. I was amazed at how fast the moon moved away from the building.


After we finished shooting the moon, and were pretty much packed up, I turned around and caught the last of the sunset on the Tower Bridge. I shot it hand-held.


Thank you Janet for your guidance and help. Yes, I do learn from other photographers who are willing to share their expertise.


6 thoughts on “A lesson learned: Moonlight Madness, Sacramento, California

  1. Fantastic shot. I’m curious. Were you focused a full 300 mm of zoom, and was the moon your actual focal point or was it the Capitol building?


    1. Thanks K’lee. When I first focused, it was on the capitol building since the moon hadn’t risen yet. When the moon rose and we had to move, I focused on both. For the moon shot, I used my fixed 300 mm lens. The last time I tried to shoot the super moon I didn’t understand about live view focusing and didn’t capture it well. You need to focus in live view and bring the focused object in as close as possible to make sure you have a crisp image.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ve never shot the moon in live view mode. Now I can’t wait to try it. My 300 mm isn’t fixed though so it could get interesting if I try a shot like yours.


  2. Wait for a full moon and zoom out to 300. You should be okay. Your shutter speed will depend on whether you’re shooting in complete dark or before the blue hour. Experiment and have fun.


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