10 Tips on How to Photograph the Super Moon - June 23, 2013

I love going out and challenging my photography skills and tomorrow evening is going to be one of those times. We are set to have a super moon tomorrow evening and apparently this super moon will the largest and closet the moon will come to earth in 2013. Apparently the moon is going to be 16% bigger and 30% brighter than what we normally see.

I've been thinking today about how I am going to go about this and decided to share the information in my head, just in case there is some others out there thinking about this too.

So here are a few tips to help you photograph tomorrow nights super moon (or any moon for that matter).

1. Decide on your location early and be ready to photograph when the moon rises.  According to my check on Weatherzone for Yamba, the moon is set to rise at 4.51pm on 23 June 2013. When the moon first starts to come over the horizon it appears larger and is a lot more dramatic. As it rises in the sky it's size starts to decrease.

2. Use a tripod or a monopod. A tripod is going to hold your camera steady and prevent camera shake resulting in clearer and sharper images. If you have a remote shutter release, this will also be handy to prevent camera shake when the mirror flips.

3. The moon rises quite quickly, so I would recommend using a shutter speed that is going to stop the motion blur. I am thinking I will start at 1/125 and may increase my shutter speed if necessary. As the moon is quite bright, you don't need the amount of light that you think you may need.

4. Keep your ISO as low as possible. The higher the ISO, the more 'noisy' your image will be.

5. Shoot with a big depth of field. We are aiming to get nice sharp pictures of the moon, so I will be starting with f8, then go on to try f9, f11. Depending on the amount of ambient light I may even go as far as trying f16.

6. If you are not sure how to expose your photos, I would err on the side of underexposing your photos of the moon. If they are overexposed, all you are going to get is a bright big white glow in your photos. Trust me. Bracketing your shots can be useful in this situation.

7. Try and manually focus your photos. In the dark the camera can have a bit of trouble knowing where to focus or it may focus where you don't want it to. By manually focusing, you are going to get a clearer shot with more detail.

8. Be aware of the other light that is around you (car headlights, street lamps, etc.) and use a lens hood or your hands (if your camera is on a tripod) to prevent extra light and flare interfering with your images.

9. Use the longest lens that you have if you want to capture details on the moon surface. My longest lens is my Canon 70-200mm 2.8 IS, which is probably not going to be long enough but it is going to have to do. Spot metering is useful for nailing the details as you can expose for the moon but leave other objects in the photo as silhouettes.

10. Have a look around you and consider your locations. I see a lot of photos on the Internet with just the moon in the middle of a big black sky. This is you chance to be creative, think about showing the moon set against the ocean, trees or even boats to add an interesting component to your images. Remember that rules are meant to be broken!

If anyone has any additional tips, feel free to post them in the comments below.

Happy photographing and here's hoping that we don't have any cloud cover!


If you are interested in learning about how to get your camera out of Auto mode and make the most of its functions I will soon be starting workshops on: Learning about your gear Exploring the functions of your camera Learning about ISO, shutter speed and aperture Understanding Metering Learning how to use manual mode

As with all good courses it will be accompanied by refreshments - coffee, tea and some seriously good chocolate brownie!

I am just taking expressions of interest at the moment - if you'd like to be on a mailing list for when I release further details, please add your name in the comments below. Please feel free to share this with anyone who may be interested


For more information on the super moon, check out: http://earthsky.org/tonight/is-biggest-and-closest-full-moon-on-june-23-2013-a-supermoon

To find the timesfor moon  rise in your area: http://www.timeanddate.com/calendar/aboutmoonphases.html