How To {Photograph} And Edit Mineral Moon


What’s the color of the moon? While you lookup on the sky, relying on the place of the moon within the sky and atmospheric situations, it may very well be reddish orange when rising and setting, have a yellow tint when barely above the horizon and greyish white when it’s excessive up within the sky.

Consideration: Seize your free cheat sheet for Milky Means pictures! Click on Right here

Do you know that the moon isn’t just white however has colors? If sure, had been you capable of see the colors when taking pictures the moon?

On a really clear night time, the following time once you {photograph} the moon, swap to reside view, zoom in and observe the floor of the moon. You possibly can see the colors on the floor of the moon ever so frivolously, with out the help of anything.

The title mineral moon for this text is as a result of we’re going to convey out some colors of the mineral deposits on the floor of the moon. We are going to have a look at the steps concerned in photographing and the pre/put up processing methods concerned.

That is how the moon seems to be like once you improve the colours of the floor. It has blue, cyan, purple and brown colours that signify the weather of titanium and iron on the floor of the moon. It’s certainly not a giant gray ball within the sky! Picture by Neven Krcmarek

What Is A Mineral Moon?

The mineral moon is nothing however our moon with edited colors on its floor to disclose the mineral deposits. You possibly can see some brownish orange and blue colors on the moon’s floor. These are as a consequence of numerous mineral deposits discovered within the lunar soil.

The place Does The Moon Get Its Colors From?

Picture by Guillermo Ferla

All of us prefer to know the place the moon will get its colors from – so we thought it might be a good suggestion to present a short and fast overview of what provides our moon its colors.

The Lunar panorama is characterised by the Maria and the Highlands aside from different lava channels, domes, ridges, tectonic options, and many others.

  • The Maria are the big darker areas that we’re capable of see on the moon’s floor and these are shaped because of historic volcanic eruptions. Maria (singular is mare) in latin interprets for seas and the explanation behind that is the early astronomers mistaking these areas for precise seas and therefore they’re named that means.
  • The Highlands are the lighter areas and have lots of craters.
Lunar nearside with main maria and craters labelled. Picture by Peter Freiman

There are numerous metallic and mineral deposits on the moon’s floor within the type of compounds. Among the compounds on the lunar floor are iron oxide, titanium dioxide, magnesium oxide, aluminium oxide, silicon dioxide, sodium oxide, calcium oxide, and many others. These compounds are discovered within the type of minerals, for instance, the mineral ilmenite is discovered on the floor of the moon and it’s a compound that comprises iron, titanium and oxygen, olivine comprises iron, magnesium, silicon and oxygen, and many others.

What We See Versus The Colors On The Moon

Once we {photograph} the moon, relying on atmospheric situations or the place of moon within the sky, we get a “white or off-white” trying moon or an orange crimson tint if we {photograph} it throughout moonrise or moonset. The moon seems to be virtually flat on a full moon day due to the dearth of shadows that often improve the floor particulars of the lunar floor.

Along with what we often see, there are delicate blue, orange and different colors on the floor of the moon. The blue color is brought on by the upper quantity of titanium on the lunar soil, the orange crimson color as a consequence of iron and the opposite colors are brought on by different minerals and the place titanium is present in a lesser proportion.

If you wish to study extra concerning the colors of the moon, go and have a learn right here on Universe Today and for extra info on the minerals learn the Lunar Resources on Wikipedia.

Now, the colors usually are not deep however delicate and we have to gently improve these colors and make the moon look pure. Going excessive on saturation will make the colors look awkward and the moon look pretend.

Right here is a picture that was shot of a 93% waxing gibbous moon:

93% waxing gibbous moon shot at 600 mm, 1/640 sec at f/11, ISO 400. Picture by Dahlia

On this article, we’ll cowl the method of photographing and enhancing the mineral moon. I’ve used my very own picture to point out the assorted steps, so that you get to see and study your complete course of.

First Step: {Photograph} The Mineral Moon

To edit the mineral moon, we first must {photograph} it. Capturing the moon is straightforward and you could have already completed it many occasions prior to now. Ensure you shoot when the sky may be very clear and never hazy in an effort to keep away from turbulence within the picture that may render the moon picture distorted or typically blurry.

Here’s a very detailed article by Mike Panic on How to Photograph the Moon!

Word: Whereas most of us are targeted on photographing the moon when it’s a full moon, in case you are somebody who needs to {photograph} the textures, shapes and contrasting particulars on the moon’s floor, it’s higher to {photograph} the moon when it’s not full. It’s throughout the phases aside from the complete moon that the small print on the moon are accentuated by the shadows and subsequently present lots of distinction.

For a mineral moon, as an alternative of a single shot, we’ll have a look at taking a number of pictures so we will stack them for bringing out the colors within the remaining picture. The most effective phases could be proper from the 25% illumination to about 80% illumination. Three to 4 days earlier than or after the complete moon must be wonderful too.

Right here is a picture of a 28% waxing crescent moon. You possibly can see that the small print look nice on the moon’s floor!

28% waxing crescent moon shot at 600mm, 1/125 sec at f/9.0, ISO 500. Picture by Dahlia

Essential Ideas For Photographing The Mineral Moon

Earlier than photographing the moon, there are a number of factors that you just want to bear in mind. If you’re somebody who images the moon usually, you could have already seen the distinction in high quality of the moon photos if you don’t take the next components into consideration.

  • When photographing the moon, there are specific components that will have an effect on the sharpness. One of many most important components is atmospheric situations (atmospheric turbulence) on the time of taking pictures which is absolutely essential as it could actually trigger blurry photos. Generally, you might be utilizing the correct settings, good focus and the sky might look clear, however atmospheric haze can actually intervene and render the moon photos too mushy. {Photograph} on a really clear night time.
  • {Photograph} the moon when it’s excessive up within the sky. Why? That’s the time when the moon is absolutely clear as a result of when the moon is decrease within the sky, the sunshine it displays has to move by way of much more air than when it’s excessive up within the sky.
  • The subsequent level to bear in mind is to mount your digital camera on a tripod which I feel is a should for moon pictures (handholding is ok however you have to have a comparatively quick shutter pace primarily based on the focal size you’re taking pictures with, which implies growing iso resulting in noisy photos). Keep in mind to make use of a sturdy tripod that may stand up to windy or situations.
  • Don’t depend on autofocus when photographing the moon though autofocus will work wonderful most often. Zooming in on reside view and handbook focusing will give completely sharp moon photos.


  • A digital camera that may shoot in manual mode
  • A zoom lens, the longer the higher, above 300mm (full body equal) – the explanation behind that is, if the moon is shot at a smaller focal size and also you then crop to fill the body, the picture high quality will significantly deteriorate
  • A sturdy tripod that may stand up to any wind
  • A cable or remote release to keep away from digital camera shake

Word: I used a full body DSLR and the 150-600mm lens at 600mm focal size, mounted on a tripod and launched the shutter utilizing a cable launch.

Picture by Diliff

Digicam Settings:

  • Just be sure you all the time shoot raw.
  • Mount the digital camera together with the lens on a sturdy tripod.
  • Flip off image stabilisation on the lens and on the digital camera physique if it has that characteristic.
  • Set the white balance manually (must be round 5000Ok) or daylight preset. If not sure, depart it on auto and make adjustments while post processing.
  • Ensure you set the lens to manual focus. Though the moon is brilliant sufficient to autofocus, zooming in on live-view and manually focusing may give correct outcomes. Furthermore, you do not need the digital camera to alter the main focus in between pictures as you may be taking many pictures.
  • If you’re utilizing a DSLR, use the mirror lockup characteristic.
  • Swap to live-view and level your digital camera on the moon. Zoom within the moon picture on the display screen and manually focus until you see the moon’s floor particulars sharp on the display screen. You probably have focus peaking characteristic on the digital camera, be sure you use it.
  • For the reason that moon is transferring throughout the sky, for a 600mm efficient focal length, you’ll need to set the shutter pace to quicker than 1/60s for a full body digital camera and quicker than 1/125s for a crop sensor. Slower values may go, however I often have it a bit quicker to be on the protected facet.

Word: Keep in mind, these settings additionally fluctuate relying on the moon phases. On a full moon night time, you possibly can shoot at very low iso values, quick shutter pace and nonetheless get good brilliant photos of the moon whereas for a crescent moon, the settings will significantly fluctuate.

  • Set the aperture value to about f/11. This often helps with sharper photos.
  • Relying on the above values, set the iso for proper publicity.
  • Place the moon within the reside view display screen in order that it doesn’t transfer out of the body shortly.
  • Take a shot and have a look at it on the display screen by zooming all the way in which in to guarantee that the moon picture is sharp and that the publicity is true. You do not need blurry or overexposed moon photos.
  • Now utilizing the cable or distant launch, take a collection of pictures.

Word: It’s advisable to launch the shutter manually for every shot or set the intervalometer to take a shot each second, as typically steady pictures with no break could cause blur.

  • You possibly can take something from 60 to 100 which is the minimal required or take much more pictures for stacking moon photos. The extra, the higher.

Word: Just be sure you take the photographs of the moon in succession and don’t let the moon transfer throughout the sky by an enormous diploma as this may make aligning the photographs throughout stacking fairly tough. As you realize, the moon is orbiting the earth and rotates by a small diploma each day and the earth is spinning! All these components will contribute to blurry photos.

Listed here are three pattern photos that I photographed on three completely different days underneath completely different atmospheric situations. There was various atmospheric haze which was amplified by the lights from the stadium subsequent door.

93% waxing gibbous moon shot at 600 mm, 1/640 sec at f/11, ISO 400. Picture by Dahlia
58% waxing gibbous moon shot at 600 mm, 1/640 sec at f/11, ISO 400. Picture by Dahlia
28% waxing crescent moon shot at 600mm, 1/125 sec at f/9.0, ISO 500. Picture by Dahlia

Second Step: Pre-Processing (Put together The Moon Photos For Stacking)

What Is Pre-Processing?

Step one in creating your stacked picture is to pre-process the photographs and get them prepared for stacking. On this course of, the photographs are ready in a means that the frames are aligned and cropped to a selected dimension and the brightness is adjusted to a traditional worth.

Software program Used:

For pre-processing, PIPP is an excellent software program and it’s free.

PIPP (Planetary Imaging Pre-Processor)

PIPP is a Home windows utility that’s designed to preprocess planetary or moon photos earlier than stacking them with different purposes like Registax. It’s straightforward to make use of and nice for anybody who’s trying into stacking planetary and different photo voltaic system objects.

The benefit of utilizing PIPP is that it helps to crop every picture and centre them within the body. It additionally selects the very best frames when it comes to picture high quality (discards overexposed or too underexposed, blurry frames).

The output frames are ordered primarily based on picture high quality and in case you are anxious that quite a few photos are low high quality, you possibly can instruct PIPP to pick solely very best quality frames. It’s essential save the processed frames as TIFF recordsdata for use for stacking.

Word: You probably have the persistence to centre every picture and crop and discard low high quality photos one after the other, then you are able to do the above course of in any post-processing utility.

Listed here are the pre-processing steps in PIPP:

  • Open PIPP.
  • Choose the very best photos discarding the over/underexposed and blurry photos.
Screenshot of the uncooked recordsdata used. Picture by Dahlia
  • Within the File menu, click on “Open Supply Recordsdata“, find the photographs, choose all of them (ctrl + A) and press open. Or, you possibly can drag the chosen photos into PIPP.
  • You’re going to get a pop up mentioning concerning the be part of mode – click on okay.
  • This may open up a preview of the output body. You possibly can simply shut that window.
  • Examine the field for “Photo voltaic-Lunar Full Disc” as a result of we’re processing the complete disc of the moon and never a closeup of the lunar terrain.
  • Transfer to the “Processing Choices” tab. You now desire a color picture as a result of you may be enhancing for the mineral colors on the moon. So uncheck the “Convert Coloration To Monochrome” field.
  • You now want to pick a “Cropping” choice. There will likely be a default worth in there. Click on “Take a look at Choices” (prime proper) it will open up a cropped preview of the output body.
  • If you’re pleased with the crop, depart it as it’s. If the crop is tighter or wider than what you’re in search of, then change the values in “Cropping” choices until you get the specified crop.
    • On this step you possibly can go for both a sq. crop or a desired crop of your liking. I’ve proven screenshots under for each choices.
1200 x 1200 for a sq. crop
1800 x 1200 for an oblong crop
  • Transfer to the “High quality Choices” tab and examine the field for “Solely Hold The Greatest High quality Frames“. This may instruct PIPP to rearrange your photos primarily based on their high quality. You even have the choice to maintain the utmost variety of photographs and that means PIPP will select the very best quality photographs relying on the quantity you enter.
  • Now transfer to the “Output Choices” tab and choose the output file format as “TIFF” and in addition select the listing for output folder.
  • Now transfer to “Do Processing” tab and click on “Begin Processing
  • This may course of the photographs primarily based on the directions that you just offered.
  • The app then does the standard processing and types the photographs primarily based on high quality.
  • As soon as processed, the photographs will likely be put within the chosen output folder. In case you look into that folder, you will note that the recordsdata are all organized by high quality and never title.
Pre-processed photos from PIPP. Picture by Dahlia

Third Step: Stacking The Moon Photos

Software program Used:

With a purpose to stack the pre-processed moon photos, I used Registax.


Registax could be downloaded here from their web site. It’s a very highly effective software program that’s free to make use of and is out there for Home windows solely. We are going to solely be overlaying the moon stacking half right here, however once you get time mess around with the software program to see what else are you able to do with it.

Right here is the method for stacking moon photos with Registax:

  • Click on “Choose” and discover the folder containing the centred and cropped photos from PIPP. You can even alternatively choose all the photographs, drag and drop them into Registax window.
  • A small window will open for “Stretch depth ranges” Click on “Sure
  • Your moon photos at the moment are imported into Registax.
  • Click on “Set Alignpoints” and this course of will set the align factors in your moon picture. It would seem as crimson dots as proven within the screenshot under.
  • In case you suppose there are too many alignpoints, you possibly can cut back it by dragging the slider on the left, that’s simply above “Variety of Alignpoints
  • Now click on “Align” and this course of ought to align all of the moon photographs that you’ve imported into Registax, primarily based on the align factors. This course of will transfer or barely rotate any photos in order that they’re aligned with one another prepared for stacking.
  • To see the complete picture of the moon, make certain “Present full picture” is checked.
  • As soon as the above course of is full, click on “Restrict“.
  • That is the place you go to the “Restrict Setup” space and restrict the very best proportion of frames.
  • Within the screenshot under, I’ve modified it to 90%. You possibly can select any proportion. It’s all the time good to decide on a smaller proportion from an enormous variety of photos – for instance, selecting 100 out of 1000 photos is best than selecting 100 out of 200 photos. I’ve chosen 90% for this tutorial so we now have a bunch of photos to stack.
  • Then click on the “Stack” tab. You will notice a set of yellow circles typically with inexperienced strains.
  • If you wish to see the complete picture, click on “Present full picture.”
  • Click on the “Stack” button. The display screen might go clean throughout this course of however you possibly can see the progress bar on the backside. So await a number of seconds or minutes relying on the variety of photos you’ve imported and the configuration of your machine. Don’t click on or press any keys throughout this course of. On this case, the method took a number of seconds for 100 photographs.
  • As soon as stacking is full, click on “Wavelet” and that is the place we will likely be bringing out the small print from the stacked picture.
  • Click on on a degree on the moon the place you wish to see a preview of the adjustments taking place as you drag the completely different sliders. That’s the place the app will put a preview field. Click on “Present Processing Space” to see the preview field the place the app will likely be making the adjustments initially as a preview.
  • Within the “Capabilities” menu on the correct in the event you click on “View Zoomed” you possibly can see the preview space zoomed on the display screen.
  • Or, press “Ctrl” and transfer the mouse round to see the world that you just wish to see zoomed within the “Zoom Panel
  • In case you have a look at the Wavelets part on the left, you possibly can see six layers. The highest layers are for bringing out the wonderful particulars and the underside ones for bigger particulars.
    • You possibly can mess around by adjusting the wavelet values individually for each denoise (if you have to cut back noise) and sharpen.
    • Any adjustments you make, you will note them taking place contained in the preview field.
    • Make changes until you see a desired look within the preview field and it depends upon private desire.
  • After getting made the correct changes, click on “Do All” and it will apply the wavelet changes to your complete moon picture.
  • In case you want usually are not pleased with the outcomes, you possibly can “Reset Wavelets” (button under “Do All”) and begin over once more.
  • As soon as you’re pleased with the outcomes and the method is full, if you want, you can also make distinction and brightness changes on the correct after which save the picture in TIFF format.

Word: You probably have a scheme with settings that you’re pleased with, it may be saved as a preset utilizing the “Save Scheme” button in Registax. The subsequent time you have to use this scheme, press “Load Scheme” and use the beforehand saved scheme which can get utilized to the picture.

  • The present model of Registax is kind of secure, however in the event you come throughout any errors throughout the above course of or if Registax crashes/hangs, restart the app and check out once more. If the identical factor continues, you might wish to select much less variety of alignpoints or much less variety of photos to stack. You possibly can all the time seek advice from the documentation on Registax’s web site for particular troubleshooting assist.

Word: In case you discover that Registax crashes regularly (which it should not) throughout the stacking course of, you should utilize AutoStakkert (free for Home windows) for stacking after which use Registax for wavelet sharpening.

Why Ought to You Stack The Photos?

Relying on numerous atmospheric situations, we might shoot the moon at completely different settings. Generally we might need to barely enhance the iso to get the shot. On this case, once you enhance the vibrance and/or saturation to get the colors, the noise will get amplified and exhibits up as bizarre patches of colors which might look actually dangerous.

With a purpose to keep away from this, we undergo the stacking process which can enhance the signal to noise ratio (noise is decreased). This fashion, you possibly can enhance the saturation of the moon or sharpen it, with out amplifying the iso or thermal noise. So with a stacked picture, you possibly can actually push it onerous to get the colors and particulars out of it with out ruining the picture.

Additionally, the distinction between information from a single body and a number of frames is that, when utilizing a number of photos, you’re extracting extra info in contrast to what’s obtainable in a single body.

Within the photos under, you possibly can see how rather more particulars can be found within the stacked file in comparison with a single body:

Distinction between and single and stacked TIFF file. Picture by Dahlia

Can You Put up Course of For Colors Utilizing A Single Moon Picture?

You possibly can in fact do the processing utilizing a single file, nevertheless it is not going to look as vibrant as stacked photos.

Fourth Step: Put up Processing

That is the ultimate a part of the method the place we convey out the colors of the minerals on the moon. I used Photoshop for this course of as you possibly can steadily enhance the saturation utilizing layers. I attempted Lightroom however the outcomes weren’t passable.

Listed here are the steps that I adopted:

Word: There is no such thing as a “one methodology” for bringing out colors in moon photos. You’ll have an identical or simpler workflow for noise discount and saturation changes in Photoshop.

  • Import the picture into Photoshop.
  • Duplicate the background layer and switch off layer visibility for the background layer by clicking on the attention icon on the left.
  • Now press Ctrl + A, Ctrl + Shift + C , Ctrl + V (choose, copy and paste). This may create a brand new layer (don’t duplicate by urgent Ctrl + J).
  • Delete the duplicate background layer now.
  • Choose the brand new Layer 1 and in Picture Menu click on “Auto Coloration.” This doesn’t change the picture to greyscale however fixes the colors within the picture.
  • Now go to Picture Menu -> Changes -> Brightness/Distinction.
  • Alter brightness and distinction worth in accordance with your desire. I decreased the brightness by 15 and elevated the distinction by 5.
  • Then acquired to Picture -> Changes -> Curves – make curve changes in accordance with private desire.
  • Go to Filter -> Noise -> Cut back Noise – it will assist cut back any noise that’s left on the picture and can allow you to work on a clear picture. I selected a power of 8.
  • Now duplicate “Layer 1” and rename “Layer 1” as “Noise Discount Layer” so you realize on which layer noise discount was utilized.
  • Add “Layer 1 copy” to a bunch.
  • Rename the group to Saturation group.
  • Add a “Hue/Saturation” adjustment layer to “Layer 1 copy” and regulate saturation worth to about 15
  • Duplicate this layer repeatedly until you see fascinating colors on the moon.
  • Now collapse the group and transfer the Noise Discount Layer to the highest of the group. Change “Mix Mode” to “Luminosity”.
  • Delete the background layer and flatten picture.
  • Now you possibly can see the ultimate picture with mineral colors on the moon.
  • I assumed that the moon picture had some color fringing and so took the picture to “Digicam Uncooked” and made slight changes to temperature and chromatic aberration.

Right here is the ultimate moon picture after all of the changes have been made.

Here’s a collage of mineral moons taken at completely different phases of the moon.

Have you ever edited the mineral moon earlier than? What course of did you employ for stacking and put up processing? You probably have any suggestions, please share them within the feedback part under.

In case you observe this tutorial and get some good outcomes, be at liberty to share them with our group here. We might like to see your work!

Additional Studying:

  1. How To Use Moonlight For Night Time Landscapes
  2. How To Photograph The Moon (With 10 Great Examples)
  3. 3 Tips For Capturing A Perfect Moonrise
  4. How To Photograph Moonscapes
  5. A Moon Photography Primer


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