Photography Tips for the Pac Super Moon for July on Wednesday


The full moon of July is special. Not only is it a supermoon – which appears larger than a “normal” full moon – but it is the largest and brightest full moon of 2022. The increase in size and brightness occurs because its orbit is closer to Earth than any other moon this year.

This month’s giant moon is known as a buck’s moon, as the moon occurs when a male deer, called bucks, wields his newly grown antlers. It rises Wednesday evening at 9:05 p.m. in Washington and ends at 6:31 a.m. the following morning. Check for moonrise and moonset times at other locations.

Wednesday evening, weather fronts along the East Coast and West Intermountain will generate scattered cloud cover that may impair visibility. Skies will be clearer in the central United States and west of the Rocky Mountains.

The term supermoon was first coined by Richard Noll in 1979 when he described a new or full moon within 90 percent of its closest approach to Earth. Over recent years, superhero movies have become popular targets for photographers.

And to help those of us hoping to shoot this month’s moon back, I asked area photographers for tips and advice for capturing the perfect moon shot—from how to plan your shot, avoiding overexposing the moon and achieving a star framing.

Here are photographers’ suggestions for photographing the moon, along with a selection of their photos. I’ve also included a few of my own. The camera settings used to take photos are included in the captions.

  • The first step in planning a moon picture is to check the timeline of moonrise, moonset, and moon phase. – Kevin Ambrose
  • Patience is required, it helps to stay up late or get up early, depending on the position of the moon. – Chris Fukuda
  • Always use a tripod and remote shutter release, wired or wireless, to avoid camera movement. – Kevin Ambrose
  • Turn off autofocus and lock in focus on objects in the foreground before the moon rises. Otherwise, the autofocus may jump during shooting. – Dave Lyons
  • Take a lot of photos because you never know which ones will end up hanging on your wall or on someone else’s photos. – Josh Steele
  • Various apps can be used to plan where the moon will be on a particular day. Some of the popular applications are PhotoPills, Photographer’s Ephemeris (TPE), Sun Surveyor, and Planit Pro. Google Earth and Street View also help in understanding the forward view from a particular location. – Dave Lyons
  • Don’t worry if it’s not a perfectly clear night as low clouds can often create a more dramatic backdrop with the moon. – Josh Steele
  • The moon is very bright shortly after it rises above the horizon, and if the moon is exposed to excessive light, detail will be lost. – Kevin Ambrose
  • exposing. – Kevin Wolf
  • Since proper exposure is a challenge at dawn and dusk, consider bracketing exposures. I often swear (+/- 1 or 2 stops). – Dave Lyons
  • Add interest to your moon photo by pairing it with a frontal theme such as the US Capitol, Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, Jefferson Memorial, etc. And when possible, position yourself further away from the foreground subject to make the moon appear larger. – Dave Lyons
  • I like to take pictures of the moon from a distance with a long lens, ideally 400mm or more. This makes the moon appear larger and more interesting compared to the front. – Josh Steele
  • To get perfect alignment in the images, you need to measure the elevation angles of how the moon rises, sets, and phases. You can get the information with PhotoPills or Photo Ephermeris (TPE). – Chris Fukuda
  • The closer the moon is to the horizon, the more color variations you see and visualize. – Josh Steele
  • Windy conditions can result in blurry images as they rock the tripod. Blur is magnified when the camera is zoomed in from a distance. Thus, a fast shutter speed, 1/20 second or faster, is often necessary for sharp moon photos with winds. – Sasa Lin
  • It is important that the topic of the introduction be sharp. It is not important that the moon is sharp because when the moon approaches the horizon, it often appears distorted by the atmosphere. – Dave Lyons
  • I love the pictures that combine the sight of the moon and the flash of lightning. It’s a rare combination, but it’s possible when a distant thunderstorm is launched surrounded by a clear sky. – Kevin Ambrose
  • While a long lens (300mm or more) is best when shooting from a long distance from a frontal object, a 70-200mm lens is all that is needed for many classic DC moon shots. – Dave Lyons

I also asked smartphone photographers for their tips for photographing the moon with camera phones:

  • Aim a telescope at the moon, then place your iPhone camera close to the telescope’s lens without touching it. Take multiple lens photos and choose the one with the best focus. – David Roberts
  • In low-light conditions, you can use the iPhone’s Night Mode time lapse with a tripod to take videos with longer frames intervals. Open the Camera app, then swipe to the far left until you see Time-lapse. Press the shutter button to take your video. – David Jenkins
  • Taking pictures of the moon with a smartphone can be more difficult than with a DSLR camera. Long exposure apps, available from the Apple App Store and Google Play Store, can greatly improve the quality of night photos. Nicole France in Mark Lord Photography

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

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