So here we go into part two of the great Super Moon shot. Here the moon had broken free from the horizon and was moving up into the sky. Only about 25 minutes later from the first sighting. A little less atmospheric haze so things are starting to clear up a bit. So how did I know when the moon was going to rise and how did I know when it was going to be full. Well there are lots of calendars that tell you what day the moon will be full but to know exactly when it is going to be at it’s maximum size you have to dig a little deeper. I use a web site from the Navy that let’s you search exact locations for all kinds of Moon and Sun data. This is a good starting point for looking up the data you need. http://www.usno.navy.mil/ I recently found out that a full moon typically rises as the sun is setting. That makes for near perfect lighting.
Now finally this is what most people see when the moon is full. This was two hours later after the moon had gotten fairly high in the sky and there was no haze at all. Nice and clear. It seems simple to take a picture like this and it is… kinda. The premise is very simple but the execution can be very frustrating. I used a 70-300mm lens on a camera with an APS-C sized sensor. So that is equivalent to a 450mm lens on a full frame sensor. The moon did not fill the frame by any means, you need about 2000mm to do that. So if you have a very long lens you need two things a good solid tri-pod and fast shutter speeds. Believe it or not the moon is moving fast in the sky. The exposure is simply the sunny sixteen rule plus or minus a stop. So if you are using an ISO of 100 your shutter speed would be 1/100 of a second at f16. But 1/100 is a touch slow to keep everything sharp. So I go to a 250th or 500th. But then my aperture goes down to f11 or f8. Still not bad unless you are using a 2x multiplier and your lens is a maximum f5.6 and then you have to use an equivalent of f11. So do you turn up your ISO to help compensate? Well maybe if you have a good sensor with low noise. Also you should use a self timer or electronic shutter release so you are not touching the camera and creating some shake. But here’s another great advantage of digital over film. To get the same shot on film years ago, I had to try six different kinds of film over a three month full moon period to get an ok shot. Here I took a shot and then took a look. So much easier and better. But still it is very tricky. Give it a try and see how you do. If you ever have any questions feel free to leave a comment. So until the next SUPERMOON, have fun. Mike.