Just wanted to share this photo of the Waning Gibbous Moon with our readers, captured with the Nikon D810 and John “Verm” Sherman’s amazing Nikkor 800mm f/5.6E VR monster coupled with the TC-17E II teleconverter. I have not been able to get this much detail from such long focal lengths before, because the shutter vibration on previous generation Nikon DSLRs would shake the camera too much at the beginning of the exposure. We set everything up on a sturdy tripod, then rest the front of the lens on car’s hood, with a soft pillow in between to dampen the crazy vibrations occuring at 1350mm focal length. Set the camera to Manual mode, ISO 800, 1/250s @ f/11, then used camera’s Live View to acquire perfect focus on the moon. With the “Electronic front-curtain shutter” turned ON, we set the camera to Mirror Lock-Up mode, set “Exposure delay mode” to 3 seconds for additional protection, then fired away. Here is the result:
If you love astrophotography, today (06/23/2013) you will witness a unique event called “The Supermoon”, where the moon will not only be full, but will also appear larger than normal. If the skies are clear and you are lucky to see the moon, this will be a great time to get out and try some moon photography. If you have never done it before, you might be wondering what camera gear and settings you should use in order to capture the moon in its full glory. In this short article, I will give advice on how to photograph the Supermoon and explain some of the steps involved in the process.
What is a Supermoon?
A Supermoon is a name given to a somewhat rare event, when the moon is new or “full”, and it is physically at its closest point to our planet. As the moon rotates in its elliptical orbit around the Earth, there are two points that astronomers marked with names: “lunar perigee”, which is the the point of the closest distance of the moon to our planet at 363,104 kilometers, and “lunar apogee”, which is the point of the farthest distance of the moon from our planet at 405,696 kilometers. So when lunar perigee coincides with a new moon, which normally happens several times a year, the “Supermoon” can appear up to 13% larger and 30% brighter compared to a full moon at lunar apogee. Although the Supermoon can be seen several times a year, only one of those is usually the most “super”, meaning it is the fullest and the closest of them all. And that date for 2013 happens to be June 23.
How to capture the Supermoon
Without going into all kinds of unnecessary details, let’s get down to business and talk about how to actually photograph the moon.
I intentionally waited on posting this article on how to photograph a lunar eclipse until it actually took place on 12/21/2010, because I wanted to document my experience and provide information on what challenges I had during the process of photographing this rare, but stunningly beautiful phenomenon. This was not my first time trying to photograph a lunar eclipse – I tried it once back in 2008, but the weather did not cooperate back then and I did not get any good pictures. My luck was much better this time and although the sky was not completely clear, I was still fortunate enough to capture the entire process, from full moon to total lunar eclipse, then back to full moon. The next lunar eclipse will occur in the summer of next year, so if you missed it this year, definitely try to get out and take some pictures, especially when the moon turns bloody red.
Here is what the blood red Total Lunar Eclipse of 2010 looked like last night:
After taking a long break, I’m now back to posting as usual. Currently finishing up: “indoors flash photography using off-camera flash” and tomorrow will be hopefully posting two new articles – “how to take portraits indoors with a Christmas tree” and “how to photograph a lunar eclipse” (yes, info on how the above image was taken will also be posted in detail). Stay tuned!
If you own a DSLR or a point and shoot with an optical zoom, I’m sure that every once in a while you see a beautiful moon and you think about taking a picture of it, especially when the moon is full and beautiful. There are other times when you spot a news announcement about a Lunar Eclipse and you think about capturing the moment, but do not know how to do it right. Or you want to capture the moon together with a foreground object such as a house or a lone tree, but the picture is not coming out right because the moon is much smaller and looks like a white blob. If you had any of these situations or simply want to find out how to take a picture of the moon with a digital camera, then this guide is for you.
Here is another shot of the moon that I took with the Nikon D300 and Nikon 300mm f/4D AF-S lens:
I thought the spot on the right side of the Moon was Venus, but then it was glowing orange. Checked it out online and it turns out to be Mars! Apparently, today the Moon was supposed to eclipse Mars.
Took this picture with a D300 – apertures f/10-14, shutter speeds 1/250-600s. Used Photoshop to combine multiple images into one. Picture taken at approximately 9 PM MST.