How can I achieve more clarity in my photos of the moon?

I took this photo of the blood moon this morning and I am finding many of my photos, especially landscape photos, have a significant lack of clarity. I’m not looking for a photo critique because I know this particular photo is crap. I’m looking to identify my source of failure to nail a significantly clear photo.

enter image description here


Canon EOS 70D with a 100-300 telephoto lens (I’m sorry I don’t know the exact model. It’s from Canon but not one of their professional quality lenses.)

  • Aperture: f/5.6
  • Shutter: 1 sec.
  • ISO: 1000
  • Focal Length: 300mm
  • Metering mode: Spot
  • White Balance: I manually set the WB to 5500 kelvin, it looked fine in live view.
  • Focus Mode: Manual
  • Drive: 2 sec timer delay

Mounted on a decently stable tripod


I turn on live view, and square up the target in the display. I then set my focal length, focus in using live view, adjust the focus as sharp as possible and take the pic. I’ve noticed that in this case, the picture was incredibly grainy, which doesn’t translate to the final photo, but wonder if it has anything to do with it.

This particular shoot I found it difficult to balance out the variables with a dark sky and a moving moon that starts blurring after 1-2 seconds of exposure, which is why I had the aperture wide open and the ISO cranked up.

I can’t tell where I’m failing:

Equipment: The 70d takes great photos but the telephoto is not great when it’s totally zoomed in. My wallet doesn’t hold enough cash for a motorized mount to track objects in the sky.

Circumstance: I’ve seen great photos of the moon with the use of a camera and a tripod, so I know this is possible. Although, I keep seeing pictures of this big gorgeous moon over the landscape, and when I use my wide-angle, the moon shows up as a dot. What the hell are people doing to get the moon so big?

Beginner skill level: I know this is the biggest culprit, but being the beginner, I’m unable to know where to adjust.