Photographing the supermoon this weekend
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Published on September 27, 2015
Night photography can provide some exceptional images, even without needing to use Photoshop. This weekend there is a great reason to grab your camera and head outdoors to take some photographs, as the moon’s orbit will take it closer to the earth. The location of the moon so close to earth is often called a supermoon, but the larger moon isn’t happening on its own this weekend. On Sunday night there will also be a lunar eclipse. A lunar eclipse occurs when the sun isn’t able to shine on the moon for part of the night because earth will temporarily pass between the sun and the moon. This will cause the moon to fade out and then reappear later in the night, providing a perfect backdrop for nighttime photography across much of North America, South America, and Europe.
Photography tips that will help you photographing the eclipse of the supermoon this weekend are also useful for most types of nighttime photography with a stationary or slow moving object such as the moon.
Photography Equipment for the Moon Shot
The best equipment to use is a camera with a detachable lens such as a DSLR or a mirrorless. If you are using your iPhone, Android, or Windows Phone you’ll likely be at a disadvantage. If you have a telephoto lens, you’ll want to use it. After all, you don’t photograph images as far away as the moon every day, and this is exactly why you would use a telephoto lens: to photograph images far away and make them appear closer.
Getting a Steady, clear photograph at night
When shooting at night, you’ll want to avoid shaking the camera even the slightest bit. The best way to do this is with a tripod. Ideally you’ll want to use both a tripod and a remote cable release which allows you to capture an image without pressing the buttons directly on the camera. If you don’t have a cable release, you can use a timer so that you can capture the picture without needing to touch the camera yourself.
Camera Settings for Capturing the Moon
Use a low ISO setting when photographing the moon. This reduces the camera’s sensitivity to light and allows you to capture a clear image rather than one that might otherwise contain a great deal of noise or grain in the photograph. A value of between 50 and 100 is ideal.
Use a higher f-stop when photographing the moon. A value greater than f/8 works well.
Set the shutter speed for 1/60 and make adjustments to increase or decrease based upon your results.
When to Photograph the supermoon
The eclipse of the supermoon will start at 10:11 pm Eastern Time on Sunday and peaks at 10:47 according to NASA.
Fixing under or over exposed images
If you have your camera on a tripod and need to make some exposure adjustments to the photographs, you can make levels and curves adjustments using Photoshop. Bring your examples to any of the Photoshop classes at American Graphics Institute and the instructors will help you to fine-tune the images as needed.
About the author
Jennifer Smith is a user experience designer, Photoshop expert, educator and author based in Boston. She is the author of more than 20 books on design tools and processes, including Adobe Creative Cloud for Dummies, Adobe Creative Cloud Digital Classroom, and Photoshop Digital Classroom. She has been awarded a Microsoft MVP three times for her work with user experience design in creating apps for touch, desktop, and mobile devices.
Jennifer delivers UX training and UX consulting for large Fortune 100 companies, small start-ups, and independent software vendors. She has been hired by Adobe and Microsoft to deliver training workshops to their staff, and has traveled to Asia, Europe, India, the Middle East, and across the U.S. to deliver courses and assist on UX design projects. She has extensive knowledge of modern Windows UX Design, having worked closely with the Windows team to create educational material and deliver UX workshops to key partners globally on behalf of Microsoft. Jennifer works with a wide range of prototyping tools including Fireworks, Photoshop, Illustrator, Blend for Visual Studio, and Balsamiq.