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Saturday Super Moon

Largest moon of the year to be seen this evening · Posted on 05-05-2012 in Photographic Articles
Saturday Super Moon

Tonight (May 5th), the moon will be closer to the Earth than any on other day in 2012, and consequently we will observe what is called a "super moon". The moon will rise at 7:59pm and reach perigee (the part of its path closest to the Earth) by 8:35pm, which is when it will reach its largest size.  The reason that the moon will appear so large today can be attributed to variations in its orbital path.

We recommend that you take the majority or your shots during moonrise, while the moon is fairly low on the horizon, so you can catch some interesting things - such as trees, clouds, or buildings - in the foreground.

We're looking forward to seeing you share your photos of the moon in the Post Your Photos forum, as well as on our Facebook page!  Read on for some tips on lunar photography technique.

By the way, did you know that our official May photo contest theme is Night Scene?  Enter your moon photo for a chance to win over $150 in prizes!

The Moon

In order to get the best moon photos, it's desirable to have a telephoto lens, such as a 300mm or longer.  The key is to use a sharp lens as well as a fast shutter speed; remember, the moon is constantly moving, and you will need to use a shutter speed of at least 1/100s to freeze the moon's motion (depending on focal length and position of the moon, you may way to go higher).  Avoid cranking up the ISO too much in order to preserve detail, and aim to shoot between F8 and F16.  If you open up or stop down your lens too much, you will notice a degradation in image quality.

If you'd like more tips on shooting the moon, please post in our super moon thread on the forum.  Good luck with your shoots!


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ronniemac [Delete] May 19th, 2012 7:42AM

In Oxford, it's like living in a tupperware box. No sun, let alone moon or stars. :( My recently acquired Sigma 600 remains untested.

TRAINUT [Delete] May 5th, 2012 10:53PM

I was out and so were the clouds, I waited 2 week for this night to happin and then I got blocked by the clouds. Mad would be puting it mildly the way I feel. Glad some got the photo. and its looking good.

MagicWuff [Delete] May 5th, 2012 10:27PM

Overcast in Warwick, RI. Oh well, what can you do?

Spodeworld [Delete] May 5th, 2012 9:48PM

Just went out to shoot it as part of the Manhattan skyline, but it was too cloudy to even see it!

mrjamesabels [Delete] May 5th, 2012 7:17PM

Way too cloudy in NJ. The moon never rose as far as I could see.

Owltown [Delete] May 5th, 2012 5:48PM

How 'bout some pointers on shooting landscapes illuminated by full moonlight?? MUCH more interesting than photos of the moon itself. The color shifts my K20D produces are remarkable.

kiwi_jono [Delete] May 5th, 2012 4:12PM

It was (and is) very overcast here (Christchurch NZ) - oh well maybe next time.

Jim Rodgers [Delete] May 5th, 2012 3:00PM

Silent Street -
Pretty certain to be thick in NYC and surrounding area, too. But, of course, there's no hunting allowed here either way.

"Down here in the south of Victoria, Australia, we have thick, obstructive cloud -- very annoying! I am hoping this persistent cloud cover will break up toward evening and into the night, then I'll go a-hunting!"

snapphappy [Delete] May 5th, 2012 12:53PM

this is when i REALLY hate living in the woods...getting a good shot of it before 9pm is going to be hard b/c of all the trees, which will probably be blocking it a good bit. :(

hoping my 18-55 on the lil red k-r can manage some thing decent..i thrive on lunar pictures!..and it'll have to due until a nice chunk of $ is avail for my much longed for 55-300 or any thing above 100mm....since i'm stealing the bf's 55-250 multiple times DAILY i'm so jealous. lol.

keithz [Delete] May 5th, 2012 11:09AM

Going to be clear in the mountains above Phoenix tonight. Looking forward to making some photos of tonight's full moon.

Fl_Gulfer [Delete] May 5th, 2012 10:27AM

All I really have is the DA*60-250 I hope it will work ok since it's not a 300 + lens.

ROBEFFY [Delete] May 5th, 2012 9:44AM

Last night was really good, see if the KX with a Sigma 70-200 F2.8 works tonight

willyflyboy [Delete] May 5th, 2012 8:55AM

I got accused of stealing a photo from NASA, in fact THEY STOLE MINE. How they got it It they claimed it is theirs. I have sent NASA an email asking why.

Rick in PA [Delete] May 5th, 2012 3:48AM

Hi, I got the time of the perigee wrong for South Africa, ours will be on the setting moon at 04:30 tomorrow morning, so I doubt you will see me up that early.

Ben E [Delete] May 5th, 2012 3:42AM

Its a clear day right now, so hopefully I can get some great shots tonight :D

Rick in PA [Delete] May 5th, 2012 3:34AM

I have just checked to find out the moon rise for this part of South Africa and it is at 16:56 so even when it reaches the perigee it is going to be too light as the sun sets at 17:33. Oh well I guess that I will have make do with looking at everyone elses images.

Annatefkah [Delete] May 5th, 2012 3:16AM

Just praying the forecast is for a clear evening :)

el1073 [Delete] May 5th, 2012 2:20AM

is it pst time, or gmt time?

jesito [Delete] May 5th, 2012 2:18AM

Thanks for the tips!

Eberbachl [Delete] May 5th, 2012 2:10AM

I'm with you Silent Street... sadly, thick cloud cover and rain here at the moment. Maybe it will clear a little later.

FenderGirl [Delete] May 5th, 2012 2:06AM

I just purchased a Pentax DAL 55-300mm and I hope I can get some good shots (newbie).

raygun85 [Delete] May 5th, 2012 1:51AM

Dang, I'll do the best I can with my K10D...

Silent Street [Delete] May 5th, 2012 12:56AM

Down here in the south of Victoria, Australia, we have thick, obstructive cloud -- very annoying! I am hoping this persistent cloud cover will break up toward evening and into the night, then I'll go a-hunting! :-))

.::Garyh

nezih [Delete] May 5th, 2012 12:32AM

Thank you for reminding and advice!