Super Moon? Super Crop!

Scroll down for general moon photography tips.supermoonA few times a year we hear that the next full moon is a SUPER MOON. The media loves to talk this up with the SUPER MOON headlines everywhere and while the size difference isn't THAT impressive - More info here about the size (the Moon will appear up to 14 percent bigger and 30 percent brighter than an average full moon).Super Moon or not -any full moon is a great opportunity to get out and shoot the moon. Few of us have zoom lenses large enough to capture the stunning shots but we can get close enough with some cropping to at least impress your friends. The image below was shot with a 200mm zoom on a full frame sensor and then heavily cropped.moonrealMore recently I snapped this image at 400mm on Full frame and cropped. 

Moon Photography Tips:

1) Plan - what time is the moon rising in your area? Setting? You can certainly capture the moon in the sky but it will often look small and unimpressive.  Better shots often incorporate some of the scenery so if you can capture it closer to the horizon the better.2) Knowing where the moon will break the horizon and travel as it rises is important - the offers apps that track the path of celestial objects including the moon.   I also use this app to plan for sunrise and sunset shoots and during wedding work.3) Get off AUTO mode.  When shooting a small bright object on a very dark sky your camera is going to be easily confused and often the moon will be captured as a featureless white blob.    Better is to shoot MANUAL and good starting values  ISO 200, Aperture f/8 and shutter speed 1/125 to 1/250 of a second.  These are just starting values, depending on the conditions in your area - city lights, clouds, you may need to adjust. If you are photographing a thin crescent moon your shutter speed may be much slower - a second or even two.NOTE: Eclipsed Moon is much less bright - You are going to need to open the aperture wider, slow your shutter speed and adjust ISO accordingly.4) Tripod and manual focus.  If you are using a longer zoom lens you will need a tripod to steady and either use center focus point or even better is to use manual focus and zoom live view to check focus.5) Review your shots as you take them, again zoom in on the images when you review to check focus and exposure levels.  I have been fooled in the past thinking I was capturing sharp images of the moon and only once I looked at them on the computer realized they were all a little soft.I'd love to see some full moon shots on my Facebook page or Instagram tag me!