Teen Photographer Captures Incredible Photo Of The Moon With His Phone

18 years old Vijay Suddala created a stunning composite image of the moon from his home in southern India with just a $150 telescope and his smartphone.

The teenager used a Orion Skyscanner 100mm Telescopea Svbony Barlow lens, a 10mm eyepiece and a smartphone adapter with its Samsung Galaxy M21 to capture the celestial image.

Moon photographed with a smartphone

Talk to PetaPixelSuddala explains step by step how he created his impressive HDR image using four images.

“Align your telescope with the smartphone camera lens using a smartphone adapter. You will see a perfect circle on the smartphone camera view and you can use a distant object to check your focus,” says Suddala.

“Point at the moon and take pictures making sure it’s not overexposed. You can use the ProCam X mobile app to change your phone’s ISO and shutter speed. Find the setting that best suits your smartphone. »

Orion Skyscanner 100mm telescope
Orion Skyscanner 100mm telescope

Telescope plus equipment

Suddala then captures the upper, middle and lower parts of the moon to make the whole image sharp and leaves a common area between all the moon shots. Finally, it captures an overexposed photo of the moon.

“Once you get three or five unique shots of different parts of the moon, you put them into software called ‘Microsoft ICE.’ What it does is stitch them together based on common areas and get a full picture of the moon,” says Suddala.

“I enter the point in photoshop and the first thing I do is apply auto color, 8x noise reduction, unsharp mask until you feel the sharpness is good enough or nice . You can adjust the black areas of the moon with the curves adjustment.

Barlow lens with eyepiece attached

The smartphone astrophotographer then adds another image of a full moon for the HDR look using guides in Photoshop to align the two images.

“Use the elliptical marquee tool to slice the moon into a perfect circle. You can remove bad edges with chromatic aberration by applying a Gaussian blur,” adds Suddala.

“You need to line up the overexposed photo of the moon layer perfectly with the photo of the layer above. This will give a nice glow to the moon,” he continues.

“For the clouds, I capture them in daylight and convert them to black and white by removing the saturation. Then I load the Moon layer with the black and white glow and clouds into Photoshop and change the blending mode to “lighten”. That’s it.”

Anyone can do it

Suddala, who does all of her astrophotography work on a smartphone, believes anyone can take exceptional images of the moon even on a budget, and credits YouTuber Alyn Wallace for learning the technique.

“I had a pair of binoculars when I was a kid that I bought in a store. I used to look at the moon and I also used them for earth observation.

“When I was 12, I bought a Celestron 50mm telescope and saw Saturn’s rings for the first time with it. I also used it for lunar observation, but got tired of it after about a year because the views weren’t so nice.

“Later, when I was 15, I bought the Orion Skyscanner 100mm tabletop reflector telescope. It’s the same telescope I used to make the composite.

More of Suddala’s work can be seen on his instagram.


Picture credits: All photos by Vijay Suddala.

Jack C. Nugent