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iPhone Moon

February 26, 2013

Hey, look! A picture of the full moon!


What’s special about this? Well, *I* took it, so there’s that. But I also took it with an iPhone.

So those of you who have tried taking a picture of a bright moon know that you usually get a giant blob like this.


The iPhone can actually adjust the exposure quite well, but for some reason it can never lock onto the moon.

So here’s the trick: point at a lightbulb and tap/hold to lock the exposure. (UPDATE: some apps like CameraSharp and VSCOcam let you set the exposure and focus separately.)


Then go point at the moon:


Zooming in, you’ll get a crisp but smudgy picture.


Reminiscent of Percival Lowell, though no canals:


To make it more crispy, I applied the witchcraft of the Photojojo telephoto lens, et voila:


Of course, my photo pales in comparison to the first photos of the moon. This daguerrotype was taken in 1851 by John Adams Whipple in Boston.


Some sources say Daguerre himself made an image in 1839, but it was destroyed in a fire than consumed his lab that same year. John W. Draper made this daguerrotype in 1840 from NYC.



While Draper did indeed make a daguerrerotype of the moon in 1840, it seems that it too was lost in a fire. If so, I’m not entirely sure when or by whom the above photo was taken.

Let us all thank Samuel D. Humphrey for standing outside at 10:30PM on September 1, 1849 and screwing around with exposures from half a second to two minutes to make this gem:


Of course, I look at this and think GIF1849a:

1849 Samuel D. Humphrey moon

So here’s to you, Samuel — let us all drink an IPA in your honor.


5 Comments leave one →
  1. Greg permalink
    February 27, 2013 1:44 am

    The daguerreotype was taken in 2851? You’d think they’d take a better quality picture almost a millennium in the future! Great tip though, thanks!

    • February 27, 2013 1:46 am

      Goddamn tachyons, which will have been leading to technological decay.

  2. February 28, 2013 10:44 am

    Can’t wait for the day we can take photos of Mars from our iPhones.

  3. March 6, 2013 5:28 pm

    That’s an awesome iPhone trick! I always forget how much I can actually control the exposure.


  1. GIF 1849a | Burrito Justice

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