A rare, seasonal Blue Moon is set to scintillate the night sky this weekend, and moon gazers are certainly in for a momentous visual treat.
A "blue moon" happens based on the succession of full moons in a specific season, Patch.com revealed. In a season, three full moons are expected, but when there is an instance wherein there are four full moons in one particular season, the third full moon is called the "blue moon."
Meteorologists advised that the best time to witness the blue moon is on Sunday, although sky watchers have spotted it as early as Saturday. The phenomenon was also called the Sturgeon Moon by Native Americans since fish were in abundance in North American lakes when it occurs, The Independent posted.
It's actually a relatively rare event, as it is witnessed after every three years, at most, although the last blue moon occurred on Halloween 2020. The next blue moon is expected on August 19, 2024, followed by May 20, 2027, Patch.com further noted.
Given its proverbial "once in a blue moon" event, people interested in snapping precious photos of the event can get tips on how to get that awesome shot.
August Moon Photography: Plan Ahead
First of all, you need to plan ahead. Capturing a supermoon or a full moon such as the upcoming blue moon may be a dream shot but is certainly difficult to take. This is especially true for a smartphone, wherein the sensor produces too much digital noise, with the lens often carrying dirt that it gets from the air or surface it is kept, such as our pockets. If you plan to take the blue moon, for example, it may be worth the effort to get the appropriate camera gear. A professional photographer would definitely use high-end cameras, such as dedicated DSLRs with impressive zoom lenses, for such a task.
But if all you have is your smartphone, you can still take those acceptable, breathtaking snaps with these specific pointers. As a budding photographer, here's how to do it.
August Moon Photography: Have a Smartphone Camera with Manual or Pro Mode, Telephoto Lens
You need the proper features in your smartphone camera. According to FactsChronicle.com, having a smartphone with a manual or "Pro" mode would help users manage individual settings. Then your phone's telephoto lens should be used to make that ideal shot. If you don't have a telephoto lens on your phone's camera array, you can get a clip-on product that you can place on top of your camera sensor. Likewise, it is important to remember not to use the digital zoom feature because it would just decrease the quality of the image. Then, it is best to have a phone tripod stand to keep the image stable, especially when using a zoom feature. If you don't have a tripod, something steady that could prop up the phone would do.
August Moon Photography: Manually Adjust the Camera Settings
When you have manual control of your camera settings. Here, you have to control the Focus, ISO, and Shutter Speed. Other optional settings include Aperture, RAW Capture, and Shutter Timer. As for the Focus, it is best to switch to manual then lock the focus at infinity. This is achieved by moving the focus adjustment to one extreme that shows an infinity loop or pictures of mountains, making sure the moon is focused all the time.
As for the ISO, keeping it at 100 or lowest value is ideal to guarantee a noise-free snap. For the Shutter Speed, This ranges from 1/60 seconds to 1/125 seconds, with a slower shutter speed allowing better exposure but with reduced sharpness. So experimenting the best Shutter Speed setting is advised in taking the blue moon.
In setting those optional dials, the higher the Aperture, the sharper is the photo. Then make sure the RAW image capture is turned on, while it is best to have a second shutter timer so your phone doesn't shake when you press the shutter button.
August Moon Photography: Take the Shot With Camera Propped on Tripod
And finally, when you take the picture, prop the device on the tripod stand, or anything stable or sturdy, then make sure it is facing the blue moon. Then use the optical zoom to get the closest, best picture of the moon as you can, with the most details of the surface. Then just press the shutter button and wait for the smartphone camera to take the picture.
August Moon Photography: Make Necessary Post-Processing Adjustments
Yes, you might not get the best shot at first but it's worth to keep on trying. In doing so, try to make more micro adjustments until the picture is ideal. Once the picture is taken, post-processing through software can be used to bring out the best details.