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Photographing the moon when its orbit is closest to the earth.
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The Photographers Epemeris (opens new window)
The moon circles the Earth in an elliptical orbit. When the Moons orbit is at its closest point to Earth this is known as its perigee.
Occasionally this perigee coincides with the day of the full moon and gives result to a spectacular moonrise with the moon appearing up to 15% bigger and 20% brighter.
The Supermoon as it rose on 13th July 2014 at 21:06 behind the harbour on the Greek island of Rhodes.
(Actually this was the day after the true full moon which rose at 20:15 on 12th July 2014 a few minutes before sunset)
Exposure settings were 1s @ F5.6, ISO 800 @ 400mm
Image adjusted and cropped in lightroom.
Planning is essential - The moon rises VERY quickly, taking only a few minutes from when it first appears over the horizon to being completely visible.
So, If you want to capture a shot like the one above you will need to plan in advance and be set up ready in the correct position with the key camera settings already dialled in.
As mentioned on the more detailed page on this site "moon photography tips" the best day to photograph the moon is often the day AFTER the official full moon.
However it is a good idea to scope out your chosen venue (after consulting the excellent "photographers ephemerides" to get accurate details of the time of moonrise and the direction from which it will been seen.) on the day of the ACTUAL full moon.
This will give you a good opportunity to carefully plan your exact location for the following day - to ensure you can be ready with a good composition (with some foreground interest) BEFORE the moon is visible above the horizon. As you can see from the shot below which was captured on the 12th July the presence of too much residual ambient light from the setting sun renders the moon less visible and therefore less distinct in photos taken around the time of actual moonrise.
Moonrise on the 12th July 2014 (the date of the actual full moon)
As you can see, with so much residual sunlight, the moon is much less distinct than in the shot shown at the top of the page which was taken at moonrise the following day
However, decent shots can still be taken on the day of the full moon.
You just have to wait a little longer for the daylight to diminish and the moon to become brighter.
This shot was taken only 7 minutes later than the previous shot! And as you can see the moon still appears quite large and the remnants of the sunset give interesting hues to the sky.
As you can see from the screen shot above, I took around 30 shots (eventually I chose the 7th shot) . The entire 30 shots were taken over only 13minutes!!
Finally, be creative and experiment.
For the shot below I dialled in a much smaller aperture in order to create the starburst effect from the security lamp (on the right hand side of the shot)
1s at F16 , ISO 800 at 400mm
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