Ok, so trying to capture the moon with your iPhone is like trying to capture, well, the moon with an iPhone.
Usually, any astronomical images I take are with my canon dslr, but I’m on tour at the moment and couldn’t really justify taking it along with all our luggage (although I might pick it up in a couple of weeks) so I turned to my iPhone 6 to try to capture the moon in all its mooning glory.
Firstly, the issue comes down to exposure. Usually, the moon is too bright to be able to get all the detail in the iPhone’s lens, the basic camera simply can’t get the exposure low enough to get all the detail. Secondly, focus is a bit of an issue, as the auto focus simply won’t do the job (it will try to focus on the black space around the moon and just make the moon a blurred ball in a sea of black ink)
So the way around this is to find apps that allow you to control both the focus, exposure, shutter speed and iso manually. I first tried by using a dslr app called pro camera, it tried to work but I couldn’t get the focus to work well enough, it kept going back to auto and whenever it would try to focus, it would do that annoying thing of going past the perfect focus and ending up on settling for, once again, the blurred ball.
I decided to go on the App Store and simply type in ‘manual focus’ in the search. The first app that popped up was simply called ‘manually’ and it was free, so I gave it a go. Surprisingly, it was very efficient! Although it is a bit annoying (sliding a small bar to control the setting which is, for some reason, in the top right corner of the screen and decides to make the phone vibrate every time I adjust) but those traits are forgiven as it allowed me to manually adjust the focus, iso, shutter speed and exposure and managed to zoom 5x so I could take a semi decent shot of the moon.
Next up was editing, even with the zoom, the moon was still pretty small, so I opened snapseed and cropped the image to enlarge it. A few tweaks with brightness and a bit of sharpness and below is the result.
It’s not the best photo of the moon by a long shot, but to have taken it with an iPhone, I’m pretty impressed. Now to start trying different settings out and having fun… 🙂