Shooting the Supermoon of 2014

Thursday on Jan 30th is the night of the Supermoon. The supermoon  won't be a full moon. It will be a new moon. Watch for slightly higher-than usual tides. Depending on your location and weather conditions you could have a great photo opportunity. The best time to take a look at this full, perigee moon is when the moon is located near the horizon. Direct your eyes to the eastern horizon during the 7 and 8 o'clock hour. Low-hanging Moons have a tendency to look unnaturally large when framed through trees, buildings and other foreground objects. We've all seen the photos with an airplane passing in front of a full moon. Having an object in the foreground will make a more interesting photo and give a nice sense of scale with the moon in the background.

Here are a few tips when attempting to photograph a full moon. Set your camera on a nice sturdy tripod. Use a cable release if possible. If not , you can use your cameras self timer. Next turn your autofocus off. You heard me right, turn it off. Most cameras have a terrible time with low-light shooting. Low-light shooting can cause a cameras autofocus system to constantly hunt in the dark. Autofocus is simply not needed for shooting a full moon. Simply set your lens to infinity. As to setting up a proper exposure, believe it or not, shooting a full moon is very much like shooting on a bright sunny day. The light reflected on the full moon is almost the same as the sun during the day here on earth.. We all have heard of the sunny 16 rule from time to time, that would be my starting pointing. Set your camera to it's lowest native ISO speed, that would be generally ISO 100 for Canon,  or ISO 200 for Nikon SLR's. Set your Shutter speed to 125 with a aperture of f16. That would be a good starting point.

Take a few test shots and adjust your exposure up or down a 1/2 stop or 2, ensuring the moon has some detail. the most common mistake is a over exposed moon that looks like a lifeless glowing ball, with no detail or surface shadows. Most of all, get out and have some fun. Remember, photos are made, not taken.