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Photographing the Supermoon

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Tips by Brendon Cremer brendoncremer-moon

With the supermoon coming up I would like to offer a few tips on how to get the best results whist photographing it.

Equipment you will need

  • A good sturdy tripod
  • A high resolution DSLR camera (the higher resolution the better)
  • A telephoto lens (the longer the better, and a teleconverter if your lens can take one)
  • A remote shutter release is advisable

Tips

  1. Set your camera and lens up on the tripod, preferably in an area with the least amount of light poloution
  2. If you do not have a remote shutter release cable, I would suggest setting your camera to a 2 or 10 second timer delay mode. The idea here is to minimise camera shake as much as possible
  3. Turn the vibration reduction or image stabilisation off on the lens, as this is       not going to help much at all and can cause slight focus issues.
  4. Set your camera mode to Manual as you want to fully control the exposure.
  5. Set your ISO, I find 100 or 200 is a good place to start. You may need to increase the ISO a little later, if the shutter speed is too slow. You do not want to shoot at too slow a shutter speed, even though you are on a tripod. The moon moves very fast through the frame especially when shooting with long lenses.
  6. Set aperture between f/4 and f/5.6; If you are shooting with a converter, you may want to stop down the lens a little to get a bit better detail and sharpness. So in otherwords, if you have a f/2.8 lens and you are using a 2x teleconverter, your maximum aperture will be f/5.6. Set your lens aperture to somewhere between f/7.1 and f11
  7. Set your shutter speed somewhere between 1/125 to 1/500 of a second. Set your cameras metering to spot metering, your light meter in your viewfinder will indicate if the moon is properly exposed or not. Use that meter to balance the shutter speed and exposure.
  8. Make sure you are only using a single focus point on your camera and be sure to keep focus while making adjutments. If your are batteling to get focus on the moon, try setting the camera to Live View mode and try focusing again, if this still fails you may need to zoom in a bit with the zoom button on your camera as if you were reviewing an image and try again or alternatively manually focus.
  9. Take a sample shot and make sure that the moon is property exposed (not like a white blob and not too dark). Remember you are shooting in a dark environment so your screen will appear brighter than it actually is. Thus I suggest aiming for a little on the bright side when exposing. If the moon is properly exposed you should be able to see all the little leg like vallies coming off the larger crater at the bottom third of the moon. Kind of like spiders legs.
  10. Adjust your ISO or shutter speed as necessary to fine tune your exposure.

I hope this helps and you all have a great time photographing the supermoon.

Brendon Cremer
www.brendoncremer.com