A Photographic Event Not To Be Missed!

In the early morning hours of January 31, in Hawaii, we’ll have the opportunity to photograph the blue blood supermoon. Last seen in 1866, the Blue Blood Supermoon will be visible in the skies above the Hawaiian Islands. This term has been coined because it is the second full moon of the month (also known as a blue moon), a full lunar eclipse will happen (where the moon turns a deep red color), and the moon is considered a supermoon (this occurs when a new or full moon coincides with the perigee of the moon’s orbital cycle. The perigee is the point at which the moon moves closest to earth during orbit). Let’s dispense with the scientific terminology and I will briefly share some information on how you can best photograph this exciting celestial event.

Click on the image to see an explanation of all the important times and details specific to the Honolulu area for viewing and photographing the Blue Blood Supermoon
Click on the image to see an explanation of all the important times and details specific to the Honolulu area for viewing and photographing the Blue Blood Supermoon

Details to Consider when Photographing the Blue Blood Supermoon

Photographing the blue blood supermoon takes some preparation, so here are a few tips to help you prepare. The eclipse begins at 1:48 am and reaches totality at 2:51 am. It will remain that dark red color until the end of totality which is 4:07 am and then proceed to be a partial eclipse until 5:11 am. You will want to be set up and ready to shoot by 1:48 am so I suggest getting to your location well before then so you can take your time finding a good place. Or better yet, go during the day to check out the terrain and use The Photographer’s Ephemeris app on your mobile device to find out how the moon will be moving through the sky.

Locations

Any place that has a clear view of the sky above you and to the west where the moon will be setting. Spots along the south shore all the way to the west side offer many choices.

Types of shots

Time-lapse, sequence, and anything that might have a compelling foreground. You may want to use trees, a lighthouse, or an iconic landmark, in your foreground. Maybe even consider creating a composite in post-processing.

Lenses

This really depends on what you want your final image to look like. If you have something in your foreground then you may need to shoot a little wider but if your plan is to create a sequential shot then you will need to shoot with a long lens. I would suggest a range of lenses from 24-70mm to a 600mm or 800mm prime. It’s always better to have too much gear than not enough. If you don’t have it or want to try something new, head over to our RENTAL department and check something out.

Suggested settings

If you’re doing close up shots of the moon it’s probably best to keep your shutter speed somewhere around 1/125 sec at ISO 100 and approximately f/9. A full moon is very bright and when you’re shooting it tight, you will notice how quickly the moon actually moves. Use the back screen of your camera to zoom in while manually focusing on the moon. If you’re doing a wider shot, then you can slow your shutter a little more without having to worry about increasing your ISO. Once the eclipse begins, you will notice that the moon appears considerably darker. Be prepared to make quick adjustments on the fly.

If you will be taking tight shots to put together a sequential image, DO NOT change your camera’s ISO or aperture if you can help it. Those two settings should remain constant so your images look very similar.

Other gear

Tripod, intervalometer/remote, umbrella to block the wind from hitting your camera/tripod and causing vibration.

Final thoughts

This will be a long night for most of us. Remember to shoot in a place where you will be safe and bring several people with you. Snacks, water, and a chair is always a good idea. Can’t wait til January 30/31!

    

2 thoughts on “Blue Blood Supermoon Photography Tips

  1. Since the moon’s brightness varies during an eclipse, you will need to change the exposure throughout taking “tight shots”.

    1. Hi Mark! Yes, this is true. But never change the aperture or ISO. If you feel compelled to change something, always change the shutter speed.

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