Shoot the (Super) Moon

For an event from which we tend to see the same image ad nausea, the SuperMoon on May 5th, 2012 sure garnered a lot of hype. And most of the pictures all look the same (mine included). But just because other people will likely take the same picture doesn’t mean you shouldn’t. Especially new photographers. You can learn a lot by shooting a little white dot in an otherwise vast black nothingness. Seeing as the moon is something that new photographers tend to struggle to capture, here are a few variations of how you can shoot the next Supermoon (or any moon, for that matter.)

  1. You can try Exposure Compensation, but your camera may not give you enough leeway to underexpose enough to retain detail in the Moon.
  2. You can also try Spot or Center-Weighted Metering on the moon itself to retain detail.
  3. However, the best way to learn how your camera works is to use it in Manual mode. Start with settings along the lines of: ISO 100, Aperture around f11 and  a Shutter Speed in the vicinity of 1/30 of a second. Keep in mind that this shutter speed requires a tripod for stabilization (remember my mantra… Below 60, stabilize), which is almost always a must when shooting scenes at night.

The key thing to remember here is that we need to under-expose the shot, because the camera’s light meter will see a primarily black image and try to bring it up to what it thinks is the “proper” exposure, resulting in a black sky with a bright white dot with no detail in it.

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