1. Lens...You probably want somewhat of a telephoto lens, whether you're using digital or film. Otherwise, you'll probably get a small moon in a large space. If you can zoom in, then you can see more than just a speck, which is really the whole point, no? If not, you get sometheeng like zees:
2. Exposure...How long should the exposure be? This can vary depending on time of day and what phase the moon happens to be. We all know that we can see the moon because it is reflecting the light of the sun, no? When it's night, this actually makes the moon much brighter than its surroundings. I haven't done it, but I think that the easiest shot of a rising moon would be if it's rising at twilight, when there's enough light left in the sky so that the moon and the surrounding is visible. That should be a practically point and shoot...again, I haven't done it so that is my guess.
Question: That's all fine and dandy, but what about when it's night??
That's the tricky bit...first thing I'd recommend? a tripod, or resting your camera on something that won't move. If you're exposure is slow and you handholding the camera, chances are pretty good it will come out blurry. Like this..it is actually blurred.
Now, with the moon being brighter than the rest of the picture, you may get overexposure...a bright moon, without much detail...
Some people think that you have to have a long exposure to get everything in. However, remember that the moon is "travelling" across the sky. Longer exposures will do a couple of things.. overexpose the moon, and you'll get a bright blob, or even if the moon is dim, it will appear blurred because it is moving (ok..actually we're moving but whatever...something is moving and it will blur the pic!!)
If you try to expose to get the surroundings as well, you get a very overexposed moon, like this one! Yes, that is the moon, not the sun!
Ideally, you want a correct exposure for the moon and you'll get nice detail, like this next shot. Like Goldilocks said..."this one's just right.."
So, if you've been following along, you might be wondering how the folks that have pictures of this big fat moon hanging over a skyline do it, no? Well, I thought it was pretty interesting...more than likely, it's a double exposure!!
How it's done...
Set the camera up on a tripod. When the moon is low and fat and happy, get a picture of it, at the exposure it needs. Then you wait...and wait...maybe go have dinner or a drink...or both..
Once the moon is out of the way, then you do another exposure (on the same frame...) for the skyline or whatever the surrounding may be.
And voila..you have the picture.
If you have a camera that doesn't do double exposures or you are dealing in digital, you can still get your shot. For the following shot, I took a night picture from back home...then used Photoshop! I cut out the moon from one pic and pasted it into the night shot. My final result?
Like I said, I got my information by digging and some of it was definitely more technical. Some of it I also learned by trial and error...and then the research also confirmed what I had deduced. The moon pics above I took in Florida back in May with a digital camera. The full moon was just incredible and I had to shoot it! If you want to look up any more info, I primarily used these two sites.
Keith's Moon Photography and Dan Heller
So, I would like to think I helped, but really, I think these are some guidelines and then play with it! Let me know how it goes!