Getting a crisp, detailed shot of the moon is very satisfying and, thankfully, it’s not the most complex image to achieve. However, getting a unique and interesting image of the moon sets a good photographer apart from other photographers. Supermoon always offers a great opportunity to take special shots.
A supermoon occurs when the moon is a full moon and at the same time it is near its perigee (or the closest point to the Earth’s slightly imperfect circular orbit). During the supermoon, the moon can appear up to 14 percent larger and 30 percent brighter than when it is at apogee (the farthest point from Earth).Read more about Supermoon and when it can be done Expect the following..
What most photographers are trying to achieve with Supermoon photography is to capture the size of the Supermoon and its beautiful orange sparkle. To achieve this, we need to make considerable plans on our part as well as good luck in terms of weather conditions.
The basic but effective approach used by most photographers is to look for places with important foreground elements (towers, large buildings, landmarks, etc.). Then find a place where they can be quite far from that element and match it to the moonrise / moonrise. This allows the photographer to magnify the foreground element and use lens compression / perspective to make the moon (background element) look larger than it really is.
This sounds relatively easy, but it can actually be quite tricky, and even the slightest miscalculation can mean that you need to move the camera position. Depending on the foreground you choose, you may not be able to achieve the shot you want.
The above applies to any moon shot, of course, but the bigger and the superer the better!
The best camera equipment for supermoon photography
There are various camera devices to help you take pictures of your supermoon. Some of it is incredibly expensive, but if you’re smart with your gear, there are still cheaper options that can produce great results. Overall, the main photography equipment you need to take a good supermoon shot is:
- Interchangeable lens camera Or a bridge camera with excellent zoom and manual control
- Telephoto lens-200mm (equivalent to full size) or more
- Sturdy tripod
- Remote / cable / app shutter release (optional but recommended)
- Optional graduated glass filter
- Planning app (eg Photopills)
- Weather forecast app (example: clear outside)
How to plan a composition for Supermoon
The most obvious thing we need to know is when is the next supermoon? Fortunately, there were four supermoons (March, April, May, June) in 2021, but the number of supermoons per year varies. Fortunately, we still have some dates this year. For more information, Supermoon Season Guide..
The full moon rises around sunset and sets at sunrise. As the moon rises / sets on the horizon, we can see the moon through a darker atmosphere that absorbs blue light. This gives the moon an orange / reddish glow.
It’s often easier to shoot as the supermoon sets. This means an early start, but it’s easier to get the ideal shot because you’re seeing it slowly disappear as it sinks, rather than seeing the ideal shot. This gives you a little extra time “with the moon” and allows you to compose near the horizon.
Once you’ve decided when to shoot your supermoon, you need to consider the location. Like the sun, the position of the moon on the horizon as it rises / sets varies slightly throughout the year. Depending on where the moon is, some places will work (or not at all) and should be taken into account. Isolated towers on hills work almost all the time, but bridges and arches can only be a good target for work when framing the moon.
Apps such as Photopills and Photographer’s Ephemeris have great tools for setting future dates and times, so you can see the exact location of the moon where you want to shoot.
Which camera settings should I use for Supermoon photos?
Once all the plans are complete, you’re ready to enter the field. There is no doubt that you will have to deal with unexpected variables (traffic / livestock / muddy routes) before you start shooting, so it is advisable to arrive at the scene early.
Set the gear on a stable tripod and magnify the selected foreground element. The more you zoom in, the bigger the Supermoon, but the harder it is to align the shots. A good option is to start with a 300mm-400mm lens (equivalent to a full frame), but you’ll get great results if you can shoot at 600mm and above.
Since I’m zooming in and shooting, I need a deeper depth of field between f / 8 and f / 22. It is important to remember that zooming makes the “movement” of the moon more pronounced. Therefore, it is necessary not to slow down the shutter speed by more than 1 second. The ISO should be low so that the camera can minimize noise.
The tricky factor when shooting a supermoon with a foreground element is to get a single, well-exposed image. At the moonrise, the sun sets, so the moon looks brighter when the sunlight diminishes. Continuous adjustments should be made to prevent the foreground from being overexposed while preventing the moon from being overexposed. One of the options that is useful here is to use exposure brackets to merge them in post-processing, but to reduce the brightness of the moon a bit, it is advisable to use a soft graduated glass filter in the sky. To do.
In most cases it’s enough to use the camera’s autofocus to target the subject in the foreground, but if you want to look at a deeper focus (please allow puns) for maximum sharpness across the frame. It is advisable to calculate the hyperfocal length, make sure the foreground is behind and make sure the moon is clearly visible in the photo.
At this point, you are ready to take a shot. Shoot as long as possible from the moment the moon appears on the horizon until the color is significantly lost. This is usually about 20 minutes and may be optimal for shooting in the middle of a session.
Check the shot with the camera and look carefully at the histogram to make sure the shadows and highlights are acceptable. Focus on it and be careful not to slow down the shutter speed and let the moon lose its sharp edges. It’s much better to raise the ISO a bit than to take an unusable shot.
As with all pictures, practice is of paramount importance. Don’t be disappointed if your first attempt doesn’t work. Learn from your mistakes and try again.
Editor’s Note: If you want to take a great Supermoon photo and share it with Space.com readers, please send the photo, comment, name and location to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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