Saturday, July 12, 2014

Desert Super Moon photography

Something I was looking most forward to in the desert was seeing the stars.  As a kid, I went camping quite a few times, and spent my summers up in Moodus, Connecticut for summer camp where we would sleep without tents under the stars.  My dad used to take my brother in the back yard in the summer to look at the moon with his telescope, and every August my brother and I would sit by our pool and look for shooting stars to wish for a great school year.  I always loved looking at the stars, though I knew we were only catching a glimpse of how beautiful the could be.  We lived in the suburbs, and I knew there was so much more to see out in the western sky.

I haven't been able to see too many stars yet because we are on base, but this evening I was able to see a super moon.  A super moon is when the moon is closer to earth than normal.  This was the first super moon of the year, and I was anxious to see it on the west coast.

It was absolutely beautiful.  Closer than ever, and so big!  You could see the craters clearly.  I had to take my camera out.  I quickly snapped a few photos, but looking at my camera I knew they weren't doing it justice.  I couldn't figure out what to do to capture the perfect moon shot.  I tried slowing my shutter down and propping my camera up.  That created blown out highlights.  I headed in to try to find something out.

Eventually I found an article that talked about shooting with a low ISO speed, which I was not doing. I was shooting at 1600 ISO, and the article suggested shooting with 100!  I never would have thought that!  It also suggested shooting f/11 when shooting the moon.  And the last piece of advice it gave was to shoot at infinity for your focus.  The camera gets too confused when trying to focus on auto focus.  These settings seemed to work, but I am still struggling a bit.  My camera is getting pretty out-dated and I think I am due for an upgrade soon.  I have learned too much recently, and a rebel simply was not enough anymore.  I hope to upgrade within the year.

I learned a lot about my camera this evening, and look forward to catching the next desert moon.  I heard it will be the biggest super moon of the year on August 10th.  I can't wait!