Super Moon and Long Exposures - J. K. Ribout Photography

November 16th, 2016

Just this week there was a super moon out, the largest seen in decades and the largest to be seen for quite a while. As my luck would have it, just like the last super moon and the blood moon; it was cloudy that evening. It doesn't matter where I am, whenever something cool is happening in the sky, there are always clouds getting in the way of me photographing it to the fulness I want to. Another obstacle that I ran into was that I don't have telephoto lens for my camera (well I do have one, but it's back in my room at home in Chapleau, so it wasn't quite at my disposal) so I wasn't able to zoom into the moon as much as I would have liked.

But despite all that, there were moments when the clouds broke (not until it was well above the horizon and almost too small to capture; but either way...) and I was able to capture a few good shots. And I used the silhouette of the trees to my advantage and to help fill the frame as my zoom still wasn't the greatest at it's maximum. I also had some fun with long exposures, not only to let in more light, but to also capture some pretty interesting abstract images as I played around with the moon light.

These images in this blog were shot with a Nikon D610 with a 17-55 mm lens. 

Here were my settings for this image:

ISO: 100

f-stop: f5.6

Focal length: 55mm

Shutter Speed: 3 seconds

Now, when it comes to shooting anything at night, there are three components that you really need to focus on: ISO, shutter speed and stability. First, you may need to up your ISO setting (this setting determines how sensitive your sensor is to light) so that your sensor is more sensitive, but you want to be careful. Setting your ISO too high will cause your photo to have grain, which you want to avoid. So, depending on the camera you are using, you'll want to stay in the 100-500 range. If you have a full frame DSLR, you may be able to get away will an even higher ISO, it's up to you to play around with it. Next, you'll want to have a long exposure time to let in a lot of light. But again, be careful. You want enough light so that you know what the image components are, but not too much that your entire image becomes orange due to your sensor picking up the light from the street lamps. You'll want to at least have it at half a second to a couple of seconds. Again, it's up to you to play around with it. Finally, the stability insures that your camera is still through your long exposure. This can be done by using a tripod, putting your camera down on something solid, or crashing it into your chest and not breathing until the shutter has closed again. The choice is yours.

Then, once you've mastered the 3 factors and captured a photo that you are happy with, you can then move on to trying out a couple of different things. These images were taken with more or less of the same settings, with maybe a few more seconds of exposure time. I had my camera on a tripod and played around with moving the camera side to side and up and down while the shutter was open. These two shots were my favourite that I captured. It's very interesting to see what you can create when you're playing around with light and dark. The creativity is endless, you just have to have the patience to try different things to get the right shot you were hoping for.

Thank you for reading!

I hope you enjoyed this little crash course on night photography and seeing some of the images I was able to capture of the super moon.

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