Photo tips for July’s “Buck” Supermoon on Wednesday

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The full moon in July is something special. Not only is it a supermoon — appearing larger than a “normal” full moon — it’s also the largest and brightest full moon of 2022. The increased size and brightness occurs because its orbit is closer to Earth than any other full moon in it Year .

This month’s Supermoon is known as the Buck Moon, since the moon occurs when male deer, called bucks, wear their newly grown antlers. It rises in Washington at 9:05 p.m. on Wednesday evening and sets at 6:31 a.m. the next morning. Check TimeandDate.com for moonrise and moonset times in other locations.

Weather fronts along the East Coast and in the Intermountain West on Wednesday evening are creating scattered cloud cover that may affect visibility. Skies will be clearest in the central United States and west of the Rocky Mountains.

The term supermoon was first coined by Richard Nolle in 1979 when he was describing a new or full moon that is within 90 percent of its closest approach. In recent years, super moons have become popular destinations for photographers.

And to help those of us hoping to photograph this month’s Buck Moon, I asked local photographers for tips and advice on getting the perfect moon shot – from planning your shot to avoiding overexposure of the moon to towards achieving a stellar framework.

Below are the photographers’ suggestions for photographing the moon, as well as a collection of their photos. I’ve also included a few of my own. The camera settings used to take the photos are included in the captions.

  • The first step in planning a moon photo is to review the moonrise, moonset, and phase of the moon schedule. – Kevin Ambrose
  • Patience is required and it helps to stay up late or get up early depending on the moon position. — Chris Fukuda
  • Always use a tripod and a wired or wireless remote shutter release to avoid camera movement. – Kevin Ambrose
  • Turn autofocus off and lock focus on foreground objects before moonrise. Otherwise, the autofocus may jump around during recording. – David Lyons
  • Take lots of photos because you never know which ones will end up hanging on your wall or someone else’s. – Josh Steele
  • Various apps can be used to plan where the moon will be on a specific day. Some popular apps are PhotoPills, Photographer’s Ephemeris (TPE), Sun Surveyor, and Planit Pro. Google Earth and Street View are also helpful in understanding the foreground view from a specific location. – David Lyons
  • Don’t worry if it’s not a perfectly clear night as low clouds can often create a much more dramatic background with the moon. – Josh Steele
  • The moon is very bright just after it rises above the horizon, and when the moon is overexposed, detail is lost. – Kevin Ambrose
  • underexposure. – Kevin Wolf
  • Because getting the right exposure at dawn and dusk is a challenge, consider bracketing your photos. I will often use parentheses (+/- 1 or 2 stops). – David Lyons
  • Make your moon photo more interesting by combining it with a foreground subject like the US Capitol, Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, Jefferson Memorial, etc. And if possible, position yourself far from the foreground subject to make the moon appear larger. – David Lyons
  • I like taking moon shots from a distance with a long lens, ideally 400mm or more. This makes the moon appear larger and more interesting compared to the foreground. – Josh Steele
  • For perfect alignment in photos, you need to measure the elevation angles of moonrise, moonset, and its phase. You can get the information by using PhotoPills or Photo Ephermeris (TPE). — Chris Fukuda
  • The closer the moon is to the horizon, the more color variation you will see and photograph. – Josh Steele
  • Windy conditions can result in blurry photos due to tripod wobble. And the blur increases when the camera zooms in from far away. A fast shutter speed of 1/20 second or shorter is often necessary for sharp moon photos with wind. – Sasa-Lin
  • It is important that your foreground subject is sharp. It’s not that important to have the moon in focus because when the moon is near the horizon it often appears distorted due to the atmosphere. – David Lyons
  • I love photos that combine a view of the moon with a flash. It’s a rare combination, but it’s possible to photograph a distant thunderstorm under clear skies. – Kevin Ambrose
  • While a long lens (300mm or more) is best when shooting from a long distance from a foreground object, a 70-200mm lens is all you need for many classic DC moon shots. – David Lyons

I also asked smartphone photographers for their tips on how to photograph the moon with camera phones:

  • Point a telescope at the moon, then position an iPhone’s camera near the telescope’s lens eyepiece without touching it. Take several photos of the eyepiece and select the photo with the best focus. – David Roberts
  • In low-light conditions, you can use iPhone Night Mode Time Lapse with a tripod to record videos with longer interval frames. Open the Camera app, then swipe all the way to the left until you see Time Lapse. Tap the shutter button to record your video. —David Jenkins
  • Photographing the moon with a smartphone can be more difficult than with a DSLR camera. Long exposure apps available on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store can greatly improve the quality of night photos. Nicole France at Mark Lord Photography

Let us know if you have any tips or suggestions for photographing the moon.

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