Cosmic Moon

I follow the blog Cosmic Focus where a recent post showed a photo of the moon. I hesitate posting other people’s photos here (as in: I rarely do) so if you want to see the photo, it’s HERE.

If I understand the process correctly, that photo is generated by taking a video of the moon (it requires a system that keeps the moon centered by compensating for the relative rotation of the Earth and Moon) and then using software that combines the frames from the video into a single composite image.

Well, I got to wondering how close I could get from a single photo from my Nikon P900 . . .

I didn’t snap a photo on the same day he did, but I had four different days where I got decent photos of the moon. So, here’s the first one (October 4th):

Well, that looks nothing like his photo which — in case you didn’t click on the link — sports a lot of detail.

But, I have at my disposal several tools I can use to massage the photos I capture. Just for clarification, the P900 outputs JPG files. Had I access to RAW data, the result might have been better.

Here’s my first attempt at recreating his photo . . .

I’m also attempting to recreate the slight magenta-cast of his photo. It’s not exactly the same and while I could have sampled the photo and duplicated the color, it’s more work than I wanted to do. Did I mention I’m busy? Painting, maintenance, other stuff . . . it all takes time.

Side note: know what I discovered? You know when you point paint, how you always get paint on your hands and it’s tough to get out? Well, I got the answer: duct tape. I was handling a piece of tape and it lifted the dried paint right off my skin. Super easy; barely an inconvenience.  I thought it was a fluke but I’ve been using it now for two days and my hands are free of paint. I normally have to scrub the shi . . . er . . . paint off them and can’t ever quite get all of it off, but duct tape lifts it right out. Easy peasy.

Anyway, his shot is oriented differently than mine (he lives at the bottom of the world) so I rotated mine to match . . .

I’m at a disadvantage here because the terminator on his photo is past where mine is so more of the moon is visible in his photo.

My next shot is from October 7th and once again . . .

Not too displeased with this effort . . . but it still doesn’t come close to how clear and sharp the moon is on the clarity and sharpness of his photo.

Before I show what I this think is my best approximation, here’s a shot from just a few days ago:

The middle photo shows an interim processing step.

So, here’s what I think is the best version and the one closest to the shot Cosmic Focus shared:

Original shot
Interim editing
cranking the process
Final (rotated) image

I’ve stated before I’m impressed with the resolution and output from the P900. I imagine the P1000 is even better but it might not be. That said, my photos are no comparison to his. In part, because I shot mine hand-held; in part because I’m competing against sophisticated equipment in the hands of someone who knows what they are doing.

What else am I impressed with? The processing tools. That’s a lot of information to drag out of a JPG file.

Here’s a gallery of all the above in the same order as presented.

There is one other thing affecting perception of the photos: how they are cropped. If one clicks on them, they will see a larger version and that will either increase or decrease the impact of the photo. I tried to crop the moon the same as Cosmic Focus’s offering, but with various success.

That’s it. This post has ended . . . except for the stuff below.


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