How to Photograph the Moon

Full moon, super moon, blood to photograph it!


Sunset Road, by Nicole Vlug -


There is always a buzz leading up to a Lunar Eclipse or 'Blood Moon' or even a 'Super Moon' and as I am writing this I am preparing to photograph tonight's Blood Moon (Oct 2014) so I thought I'd share some tips and tricks I use for photographing a full moon.

  • The best shots are just as the moon comes up over the horizon - that's when it looks the biggest.
  • The best Moon shots are taken when the moon rises BEFORE the sky is totally dark. Otherwise the contrast between the bright moon and the dark sky is too much for the camera (dynamic range).
  • If it is already dark where you live when the moon comes up, DON'T get your exposure from the sky around the moon - in other words don't point and shoot - spot metre ON the moon to get the right exposure - if your camera meters on the dark sky the shot will be over-exposed.
  • If it is not quite dark when the moon comes up, try framing some of the landscape in your shot - far away hills are great to show off the size of the moon.  If it is dark when the moon comes up don't bother including landscape.
  • Use a tripod and your longest lens - we all wish we had a 500mm pro lens for this shot - but  - we don't - lol.
  • Set your 10 second timer or use a remote so you don't have any accidental camera shake.
  • Use a low ISO - say 100, and use a mid range f/stop.
  • Manually focus on the moon to be sure focus is tack sharp.
  • You want 'tack sharp' because no matter what, you'll probably be cropping heavily in post processing to get the detail in the Moon's surface. (Unless you have that 500mm lens)
  • Take lots of shots and check them, zoom into the shot with your preview to check the exposure and sharpness, and adjust your settings if necessary.



Here's a few goodies.  The moon was a dark red on the first shot taken in the evening on almost full eclipse.  The second shot was taken in the early hours of the morning when the sky was quite light but the moon was a lot brighter and to get the correct exposure of the moon to show off the details, the sky ended up looking dark.  Likewise with the last two shots, but the horizon showed off lovely pink tones of the sky which came out nicely even though under exposed.

Blood Mood Lunar Eclipse 8 October 2014 ~ 3   The morning after the Oct 8 Blood Moon, before sunrise.   Blood Mood Lunar Eclipse 8 October 2014 ~ 4   Blood Mood Lunar Eclipse 8 October 2014 ~ 5

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