640 iso

This year marks the 5th in a row that at least one of my images have been shortlisted in the annual Australian Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year competition which celebrates the natural heritage of the Australia, New Zealand, Antarctica and New Guinea bioregions.
This year two images of mine from Antarctica have made the cut from the 2174 photographs entered by 488 photographers from 11 countries. Winners in each category are announced in August and will be exhibited at both the South Australian Museum in Adelaide and the Australian Museum in Sydney.

“Penguin Palace’
Ross Sea, Antarctica. 27/01/2017
Canon 5D MarkIV
Canon EF100-400mm 4.5-5.6L IS II USM @400mm
ISO 640
Hand held
From the ship ‘The World’ on which I was working as an Expedition Doctor I photographed this small group of Adelie Penguins huddled on an enormous iceberg of multi-hued blues as we sailed past. Perched there they are protected from predators yet can easily enter the ocean to feed.
EYOS Expeditions
Ted’s Camera Stores
Canon Australia

Tips for Moon Photos

I’ve finally gotten around to writing my tips on taking photos of the moon. I apologise to everyone who I told I’d get something done in the next few days, but it’s actually been months. I was born a procrastinator.

  • I’m not a qualified photographer. I’ve learned from very good friends who are professional photographers.
  • Every moon shot is different, and will most likely require very different settings. The same settings rarely achieve the same result because you need to take into account things such as light pollution and atmospheric conditions.
  • This is purely general advice based on what works for me.
  • Tripod
  • Remote shutter release
  • Long zoom lens
  • Ample patience
  • Yummy snacks

This is where I differ from most and I do so from practical experience and not from technical knowledge, therefore, these may not be professionally correct.

  • Learn to use your camera and lens in manual mode otherwise you will struggle with crisp and clear moon shots.
  • As a beginner, don’t wait for when it’s too dark. It’s easier to get the clouds and a little landscape into your shot around sunset and sunrise. The sun is low, but still bright enough to cancel out some of the reflective light from the moon, thereby allowing you to capture the craters and shadowed surface of the moon more clearly while adding a few extras into the background.
  • Don’t settle on ISO 100, especially in the black of the night – the moon turns out too dark. Play around with the ISO, shutter speed, and aperture (read on) until you’re satisfied with the result.

This has been a common question and I feel really bad when I answer with the truth: I can’t give you exact settings because there are too many environmental factors to consider. However, I will share what I know about the exposure triangle and you can apply this to see what works best on the day.

(**Please do your own research here because this is my understanding of the exposure triangle and I might have it totally wrong!**)

Photography is largely based on the inclusion and exclusion of light. Each of these elements of the exposure triangle control the amount of light you want to capture, but each effects the other, therefore, forming a triangle.

  • ISO = the amount of light hitting the sensor. The higher the ISO, the more light you will allow, but your picture will also retain a lot of noise making it appear grainy.

I range from ISO 100 to ISO 640 depending on the time of day and the final image I have in mind. Because I crop/stretch some of my images, I find anything above ISO 640 can appear pixelated, plus I start to lose the shadowed parts of the moon because I’m allowing too much light into my exposure. However, there are always exceptions.

  • Shutter Speed = determines motion blur/sharpness of your image. A slow shutter speed means more motion blur in your photo. A faster shutter speed means a sharper image, however, you will capture less light unless you alter the ISO and/or aperture to compensate.

If you want a moon shot with some of the brighter stars, you can try a slower shutter speed of 1/10th of a second with ISO 640 and sometimes still retain some of the shadowed parts and craters of the moon. It really depends on how clear the sky is. Usually, because our planet and the moon are in movement, I find it better to use a quicker shutter speed (1/125) and higher ISO (maybe ISO 640) to get a quick and sharp shot, and, if I’m lucky, a few stars linger in the picture. 

  • Aperture = determines the depth of field of the image. The aperture is also known as f-stop (for the focal length measured in fractions). A small aperture (high f-stop) brings images in the background and foreground into focus. A large aperture (low f-stop) blurs the background.

The aperture basically acts as a barrier to control the amount of light you allow in through your lens and controls the area of focus in the picture. I enjoy testing it out when I want to include bokeh in my exposure, or when I’m taking portraits of my family/friends where I can blur the background and focus on the person. I don’t alter the aperture for my night shots, but the camera does when I change the shutter speed. 

Most Importantly:

Try not to be disappointed if you don’t get the shots you want. It’s all experience, which counts towards the perfect picture!

I apologise if there are mistakes in this or I’ve missed things out. I hope it makes sense. It can probably be better worded, and if I ever decide to work on it for a little longer than 10 minutes, I’ll be sure to post an improved version! 

Mostly, I genuinely hope this helps those who have been kind enough to praise my work and deluded enough to ask me for tips!

Love, Abi 🌙

14mm | 1/80s | ISO 640

One early morning, I found myself wandering along the beach in Boltenhagen. At this time of the day (or rather: night), no soul was present and I took my time enjoying the quiet atmosphere. The only noises came from the even movements of the waves and occasionally, of course, from the seagulls. To convey this atmosphere into the photograph, I captured the small waves in motion rather than straightening them with a long exposure shot.