Tips for Photographing the Super Moon Wed, Jan. 31

Tamron bird

Tips for Photographing a Super Moon by Tamron Image Master David Akoubian of Bear Woods Photography.

The term “Blue” moon is based on the simple idea that 2 full moons occur in a single calendar month. 2018 has 2 months in which we will have 2 “Blue” moons. The one on January 31, 2018 is also a Super Moon, and the second of the month as well. A Super Moon means the position of the moon is closer to the Earth than normally, so it can appear a slight percentage larger in the frame.

I’m an old school guy who falls back on manual settings when it comes to photographing a full moon. I remember my mentor telling me that a full moon is the same as shooting in conditions to the old “Sunny 16” Rule. This means set your camera to manual, select an ISO, I like 200 then a shutter speed and aperture that is a reciprocal value of 1/200th of a second at f16. I prefer 1/800th of a second at f8. This will allow me to capture great detail in the moon and have a fast enough shutter speed to steady movement. I will use a tripod usually, but with a high enough shutter speed and Vibration Compensation, handholding the lens is possible. Depending on where you live, atmospheric conditions may dictate opening up a stop because of haze. If that happens I will either adjust the shutter speed to 1/200th or change the ISO to 400. If you are using either Aperture or Shutter Priority, you will need to adjust your exposure compensation to get detail in the moon usually.
My lens of choice is the Tamron SP 150-600mm Di VC USD G2 lens. I will use either a full frame camera or a cropped sensor camera and crop a little to my personal liking during the processing. I like to find objects to place in the foreground to give it a different look as well. The best day to capture the full moon in the early dusk light is the day before the actual full moon occurs or the day after at sunrise.

Tamron airplane against moon
I encourage you to get out and shoot the moon, have fun, get lots of images, find things to place in the foreground, shoot it high in the sky, but go out and have fun!

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