Super Moon!

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In honor of tomorrow’s anticipated “Super Moon” event (Saturday May 5th), here is a rerun of Steve’s article on photographing the moon from last year.


By Steve Russell

Whether you’ve photographed the moon numerous times or have just thought about doing it, Saturday evening, March 19, 2011 May 5th, 2012, is a must do evening. On that evening the moon will be at its perigee (closest to the Earth) and according to one article I read it will appear 14% larger than normal. This event, the full moon at its perigee will not occur again until the year 2029 [editor's note: hmm... it doesn't feel like 2029 to me!]. If you have an open horizon, you might want to begin photographing as soon as the moons starts to peep over the horizon.


If you aren’t sure how to do this here are a few tips:

Use a tripod – you want your camera to be as steady as absolutely possible. If you want a really good image of the moon IS or VR isn’t going to be enough.

Use the longest lens you have – I will be using a 300mm lens with a 1.4X Telephoto Extenter but if a 24-105mm was all I had, I would use that fully zoomed to 105mm.

Use a Remote Shutter Release if you have one. That way you won’t have to touch the camera to shoot the image.

Just before you shoot, lock up your mirror if your camera has that feature as an additional way to prevent camera movement

Why am I being so picky about camera movement? Because even with the 300mm lens and extender, I’ll still have to crop the image to get the moon to dominate the frame and I want the image as clear and sharp as possible.

Now for exposure

Even though it will be dark outside, the moon, once it’s above the horizon enough so that it appears white, is in full sunlight. Therefore, sunny 16 rule – shutter speed the same as the ISO and aperture at f/16. I will probably use a reciprocal of this because I want a low ISO and a fast shutter speed. Because I will be focusing at infinity I’ll probably set ISO at 100, shutter speed at 500 and aperture at f/8. I’ll probably try shutter speed at 1000 and aperture at f/5.6 as well.

Go have some fun and capture some great images of the moon.


We’d love to see your shots! Please feel free to share them in our Flickr Group or on our Facebook Page!

Photo credit:

Full Moon by Steve Russell

Front page image credit Dave Dehetre on Flickr Creative Commons.

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