Shoot the Moon | Putnam County Photography

February 28, 2019







I am honored to have been asked by the local photography group I am a part of to write a post about this photo.  The group is part of a community Art organization, Arts on the Lake.  It's a terrific place that brings artistry in all forms to our community.  It's a place to see performances and art shows as well as network with other artists.  I have made some great local photography friends through their offerings and my kids have been involved with some of their programs as well.


Let me start by saying that moon photography is about as far out of my wheelhouse as you can get.  I primarily photograph newborns.  But with a good tripod and a basic understanding of how to operate your camera in manual mode, getting these decent moon photos was not hard at all.  The hard part was staying awake for the entire eclipse!


I wasn’t planning on staying up for the eclipse, or capturing these pictures…there are so many great photographers out there (check out another member of our group’s work Justin Goodhart Photography he has phenomenal landscape and night work and he had amazing images of the moon), I figured I would just catch my zzzzz’s and check out the awesome pictures the next day.  I was cozy in bed when my husband asked if I was going to get a picture….okay just one. 


Then one more and one more…once I made it to the full eclipse I knew I wanted to get the full cycle and stuck it out till the end.  Weather of course will play a huge role in how the pictures turn out.  Despite the frigid temperatures, we got really lucky the night of this Super Blood Wolf Moon Eclipse, it was crystal clear out!

Okay, now for the picture taking




My equipment

My exact equipment isn't necessary, but at minimum you will need a tripod, a camera you can manually adjust settings and a long zoom lens.


Vanguard Alta pro 263AB 100 Aluminum Tripod 


Canon 5d Mkiii


Canon 70-200L


I would usually use a remote trigger, but I couldn’t find mine so instead I used the built in timer delay in the camera.




My settings


Remember when I said I don’t usually shoot these sorts of things…well, some of this was trial and error and an understanding of the exposure triangle and how to adjust your camera settings is essential.


I knew I wanted a high (small opening) aperture to keep the image sharp and as low of an iso as possible for minimal noise and high quality.  Even with my 200mm lens I knew I would be cropping in quite a bit, so I wanted as much detail as possible. 

I started with settings f/11 and iso 100 as a starting point.  I would mostly adjust my shutter speed to get the correct exposure.  I did read online ahead of time that the moon moves fast enough and to try to keep shutter speed over 1/100 to avoid motion blur. 

I did find I needed to drop lower than 1/100 at the height of the eclipse and ended up taking several shots with various shutter speeds/iso/aperture combinations (but similar exposure) to see what gave me the best quality.   This is the great thing about digital…experimenting is free!





tripod - The camera was set up on my tripod.  I recently upgraded my tripod and now wish that I never skimped on my first one.  It makes such a huge difference having a good quality tripod and considering my camera was basically pointing straight up with a huge lens on it, stability was very important.  I used the timer on the camera to avoid camera shake.  Pressing the shutter button will move the camera slightly, no matter how careful you are.  Using a remote or the built in timer allows the shutter to fire without you touching the camera and