I finally figured out how to focus my Canon while it’s attached to the telescope. Aimed at the moon and using live view, I hit the magnify button, just to see what it would do. Sure enough, the viewscreen showed a 10x image of some zoomed-in craters. (They were really bouncing around, since the table on our back deck is apparently made of Jello). I thought I’d take a photo of the craters once everything stopped moving. But when the shutter tripped, I got a regular ol’ view of the crescent moon. Certainly there had to be a reason for magnification on the live view. I Googled “Canon live view zoom in” on my phone and learned that the zoom feature is only for “ultra-tight focusing.”
Of course, then I realized how crappy my moon photos have been up to now: washed out and blurry. Shooting at a lower ISO (100 to 200) took care of the first problem, and now using the telescope’s focusing knob while in zoom mode took care of the second. When I started taking photos again, they were much, much better than they’d ever been.
In fact, let’s do a little side by side action. On the left is a gibbous moon that I shot a few years ago. Not the worst photo ever, and in fact, it’s the best one I’d ever shot out of hundreds up to tonight. On the right is tonight’s version:
Not the best comparisons, because they’re in different phases. And I’ll admit that the ones on the right could be a little brighter, but I’m happy to have figured this out.
Alas, even with “this one weird trick,” my tiny scope and limited DSLR camera couldn’t do much with Jupiter:
No cloud bands, no Great Red Spot. And because the exposure times are so different, no Galilean satellites. Thus, my basic equipment and I have managed to reduce Jupiter, king of planets, ruler of 60 moons and slayer of comets… to a ball of snot.