NASA’s photographer teaches how to do a Pro shoot in the super-moon
The most spectacular supermoon of the 21st century, so far, is happening on November 14.
It’s an event worth remembering since there won’t be another supermoon like it for the next 18 years. So, get your cameras ready and follow the advice of NASA’s lead photographer Bill Ingalls.
“Don’t make the mistake of photographing the moon by itself with no reference to anything. Instead, think of how to make the image creative – that means tying it into some land-based object. It can be a local landmark or anything to give your photo a sense of place,” Ingalls said.
You might even want to plan a day or two in advance and scout out the perfect location. Ingalls sometimes asks for rooftop access and recommends including family or friends in some of the photos to make them more personal.
So when is the best time to see this spectacular supermoon? That depends on where you are.
Supermoons take place when the moon’s closest approach to Earth coincides with a full moon. This can only happen four to six times within a single year.
At exactly 6:23 am EST on Monday, November 14 the full moon will be just 221,524 miles (356,508 km) from Earth. That’s about 30,000 miles (48,280 km) closer than when Apollo 11 launched to the Moon on July 16, 1969.
For most people in the US, the Moon will have set by 6:23 am EST on Monday, and therefore will not be visible. (You can check this handy moonset-moonrise calendar to figure out when the Moon will set in your area on the morning of November 14.)
So, the best time for Americans to see the supermoon at its biggest and brightest will be late Sunday night or Monday evening. If you’re photographing with a digital SLR camera, Ingalls said the daylight white balance setting is good for capturing moonlight (since it’s reflected sunlight).
“Keep in mind that the moon is a moving object,” Ingalls said. “It’s a balancing act between trying to get the right exposure and realising that the shutter speed typically needs to be a lot faster.”
If, instead, you’re using a smartphone, you probably won’t get as impressive a shot, but you can still get a good view if you travel to the right place.
“You’re not going to get a giant moon in your shot, but you can do something more panoramic, including some foreground that’s interesting. Think about being in an urban area where it’s a little bit brighter,” Ingalls said.