The Super Moon!!!! Part One

July 16, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

Hey folks,

Did you miss the Super Moon last weekend or were you lucky enough to see it?  How about capturing images of it?  I did.  There is suppose to be another Super Moon on August 10.  So, let's get prepared for our next one.  The best time to image a full moon or Super Moon is when it has just cleared the horizon.  At this point, the moon is viewed through the thickest part of earth's atmosphere which not only acts like a filter but also causes the famous "moon illusion."

The Moon illusion is an optical illusion in which the Moon appears larger near the horizon than it does while higher up in the sky. This optical illusion also occurs with the Sun and star constellations. It has been known since ancient times and recorded by various cultures.[1] The explanation of this illusion is still debated.


The Super Moon, on the other hand, is something different and not as frequent.  The above image shows an example of a Super "Harvest" Moon similar to what appeared on June 12.  Here is some information about the Super Moon:

A supermoon is the coincidence of a full moon or a new moon with the closest approach the Moon makes to the Earth on its elliptical orbit, resulting in the largest apparent size of the lunar disk as seen from Earth. The technical name is the perigee-syzygy of the Earth-Moon-Sun system. The term "supermoon" is not astronomical, but originated in modern astrology.[1] The association of the Moon with both oceanic and crustal tides has led to claims that the supermoon phenomenon may be associated with increased risk of events such as earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, but the evidence of such a link is widely held to be unconvincing.[2]

The most recent occurrence was on July 12, 2014. The next and closest supermoon of 2014 will be on August 10.

There are several ways to image a full moon but we will cover, in this Part One, "Moonscape Photography":

first, image the moon with a landscape by using a camera-on-tripod setup and preferrably a remote shutter.  Lenses of 50mm and wider are good for this since they are your typical landscape lenses which capture a wide view.  The best time for these kind of moon images is during twilight or also known as the "blue hour" when the sky turns a deep cobalt blue.  The reason being is that there is less contrast at this time, a nice cobalt blue background and still remaining light onto the landscape.  This is better for your exposure and for digital in general.  My goal for moonscape photography is connecting the earth and sky.  Once you know that a Super Moon is due, search out a scenic location with a flat horizon to the east but even better try to find an iconic location such as a lighthouse or famous historic building that will add appeal and the "wow factor" to your composition.  These make your images more unique and marketable! 

Once you have your location, set up your composition during the twilight period and since you will be shooting in low-light, a longer exposure is likely and therefore the use of a stable platform for your camera, the tripod, is a must!  The use of a remote shutter release is also highly recommended since pressing the camera's shutter only defeats the purpose of using a tripod.  Bracket your images while reviewing them on your LCD screen to obtain proper exposure.  With enough moonlit landscape, you should be able to acquire an good exposure on the landscape but the moon may be overexposed and detail lacking.  Use your exposure compensation mode while bracketing and find a balance where detail can be captured both in the landscape and the moon.  I recommend the use of a 50mm (normal or standard) lens since it will capture a good deal of the landscape while the moon, although small in the frame, will be a little more magnified.  Stay tuned to next week's Blog where I will cover Part Two on how to capture a Full Moon and/or Super Moon!







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