Once in a Blue Moon…

Once in a Blue Moon…

Tonight is the “Blue Moon”! If you are thinking you will get to see a blue moon, you will be disappointed…terribly disappointed. You see, the moon will not be blue. What? Why call it a blue moon? It is called a blue moon because of the rarity of the event that 13 moons fall into a year. Typically there are only 12. Thus it is as rare as a blue moon…

Anyway, here are a few tips for shooting a blue moon. First, you should have shot it last night like I did! The night before the full moon, the moon will rise about an hour before sunset. This means you capture a 99% full moon in the shadow of the Earth while the sun sets and get some cool colors as well. This post is loaded with good news, right?

Shooting a full moon is easy though. Use a great sturdy tripod like my Sirui R4214X and set up and wait. I used a long telephoto lens to capture some color on the horizon and a close up of the moon. My choice of course is the Tamron SP 150-600mm Di VC USD lens. Since the full moon is a front lit object the old “Sunny 16” rule applies. 1/ISO is your shutter speed @f16. Since we have something called haze, I open up 2 stops to f8. I used ISO 400, so my shutter speed to get a little more light in was 1/320th of a second. Use a cable release to minimize vibration as well.

If you see any images of a moon that is blue…it is photoshopped. Unless of course they are photographing a sad moon, which could be blue but it is hard to capture mood in the moon.

Tamron SP 150-600mm Di VC USD lens on a Canon 7Dii, Manual Mode, f8, ISO 400, 1/320th of a second, Sirui R4214X tripod and K40X ballhead, Peak Design Leash, Lowepro Flipside 500AW, processed in Lightroom CC.

Blue Moon 073015c copy



Blue Moon 073015b copy


4 Responses to “Once in a Blue Moon…”

  1. Nice images! Not all blue colored moons are photoshopped — blue planetary filters can add a very strange hue. I like the photograph at the beginning of your post — the sky has a nice saturation of subtle colors!

    • lilybug1960 Says:

      Thanks! I agree there may be a blue hue to the moon due to atmospheric conditions. I actually did capture a few of them last night. It typically causes a loss of detail in the moon. The images that are floating around telling people to prepare for the “Blue Moon” have been photoshopped to their limits. I love including the Earth Shadow in images.

      • Haha — I know what you mean now — there are quite a few questionable “blue moon” photographs…to say the least!

        Filters can degrade lunar resolution as well, which is quite annoying. I never seen a blue moon caused by atmospheric conditions.

    • lilybug1960 Says:

      Our moon last night had a slight cast from some haze that came through in front of a dry cold front.

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