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NASA’s senior photographer tells the best ways to shoot the supermoon

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WASHINGTON: An unusually large and bright Moon will adorn the night sky today evening — the closest “supermoon” to Earth in 68 years and a chance for dramatic photos and spectacular surf. But do you know the best possible ways to photograph the rare moon?

Well, if you couldn’t take a proper picture of the supermoon, you will have to wait until 2034 for another such lunar cycle.

NASA’s lead photographer Bill Ingalls has explained the ways a commoner can shoot the rare moon snaps.

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“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.

How to make the most of digital camera?

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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.”

DSLR tips

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Ingalls prefers a daylight white balance setting to capture moonlight since it’s the sun’s light that is being reflected. And when using a long lens, Ingalls says:

“Keep in mind that the moon is a moving object. It’s a balancing act between trying to get the right exposure and realizing that the shutter speed typically needs to be a lot faster.”

 

Do a little location-scouting homework:

“I use Google Maps and other apps – even a compass — to plan where to get just the right angle at the right time.”

You may need to travel a bit to avoid light pollution. And make sure to ask someone for permission to shoot on their property.

 

What if you have smartphone?

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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.

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