Tips for photographing the Super Blue Blood Moon!

On Wednesday, January 31st, there will be a rare Super Blood Moon!  Now sadly, it is unlikely that we will see it here in the UK.  However, for my friends in the US and Canada, you will get the opportunity to wake up early to see this incredible celestial event!

What is a Super Moon?

A super moon is when the moon is at the closest point in its orbit to the earth.  They call it the perigree.  As it is the closest to the earth, it also makes the dark side of the moon closest to the sun.  With its positioning and reflecting the suns light it appears 14% brighter than it would any other night.

A Blue Blood Moon too?

Did you know that the second full moon of the month is referred to as a Blue Moon?  This is where it gets really cool.  The super blue moon, will pass through the earths shadow giving us a total lunar eclipse! (Depending on where you are in the world).    The Blood Moon happens during a lunar eclipse – its the red tint that the Earth’s shadow casts on the moon.

Check out this video from NASA!

How can I get great pictures of the moon?

Since there are still a few days until it happens, you still have time to scout out a good location to shoot from.  Plan out your shot.  Do you want a picture of the moon by itself, or do you want something in the foreground to give a frame of reference.  If you take a shot with the moon on the horizon or with some buildings in the shot, your image will look a lot larger than it would by itself.

Photographing the moon is different that photographing the stars.   With the night sky you want to use a long exposure so the light from the stars can reach your cameras sensor.  However with the moon reflecting the light from the sun, if you were to use a slower shutter speed you will overexpose the shot and will lose the detail in the craters and shadows.

Stars
Long Exposure using my 50mm f1.4, 25sec, ISO 200

Some basics to get you started

Whether you have a DSLR camera, a point and shoot, or even if you are using your camera phone, you will want to use the widest focal length your camera or phone will allow.  In other words, you want to be as zoomed out as possible.  That will allow you to have a interesting foreground in the image.

You definitely want to use a tripod or something sturdy to mount the camera on.  The slightest shake of your hands will give you a blurry image, using a tripod and either a timed release or a remote shutter will give you the stability you need. If your camera has a Mirror Lock Up feature on it, enable it.  Even the internal mirror of your camera can blur a shot like this.

Start out by setting  your ISO to around 100 to start.  In Manual mode, set your f-stop somewhere around f-11 and your shutter speed to at least 1/250.   From here, it is trial and error.  Look at your photo on the display. Is your shot too bright or is it blurry? Try using a faster shutter speed.   Too dark?  Slow your shutter down or try bumping your ISO up a few notches and see how that affects your shot.

Last but not least, set your focus.   If you try to focus in auto focus, your camera will not be able to lock on. Set your camera to manual focus, and turn the barrel to infinity and adjust from there.  Another way would be to use the live view mode and zoom in and adjust your lens manually that way.

 

Photo of the super moon

My biggest disappointment about this post would be the fact that I won’t be able get shots of my own.  It will be daytime here in the UK, but I would love it if you would share your photographs with me!

Find out when the best time will be for you to get out by visiting NASAs website here.  https://www.nasa.gov/feature/super-blue-blood-moon-coming-jan-31

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