Photographing The Super Blood Wolf Moon Lunar Eclipse This Weekend

This weekend, you’ll be treated to a very exciting light show in the night sky: the Super Blood Wolf Moon, which will occur around midnight this Sunday, January 20. (It’s called “super” because the moon is at its closest point to the earth and “wolf” because that’s the name any full moon is given when it occurs in January. And “blood moon” refers to the reddish glow due to reflections from earth’s atmosphere.) 

The last time there was a similar type of “blood moon” lunar eclipse was in September 2015. At that time, I captured some relatively successful photos using one particular camera, the Nikon Coolpix P900. The reason is that it had an 83x optical zoom, which allows you to get close enough to capture the craters on the moon. The newer version of the camera is the Nikon Coolpix P1000, $999.95, which has an even longer optical zoom range, up to 125x or the 35mm-film equivalent of a 3000mm lens. What’s remarkable is that it offers a moon scene mode that does much of the work for you, providing excellent image stabilization and zoom power to get wonderful results.

As you can see, I did experiment with various settings to achieve the two photos of the “blood moon” lunar eclipse back in 2015: one gives a better shot of the color and the other of the light and dark. Here are a few tips to help you get ready:

  • Stabilize Your Camera: Try using a tripod for best results. You can also rest your camera on a solid surface and use the camera’s self-timer to fire the shot, which can help eliminate blurry shots due to handshake.
  • Use The Longest Lens You Have: Since the Coolpix P1000 has the longest optical zoom on the market, it’s a valuable lens to shoot a lunar eclipse. But other superzoom point-and-shoots can be effective as well.
  • Try Out Different Settings: What’s challenging about shooting the moon is that you’re not photographing light that is bouncing off of objects or subjects. The moon is so bright you’re almost shooting the light itself. That means you’ll need to experiment using different settings, such as different apertures and ISO settings.

If you’re in New York, check out the Amateur Astronomers Association of New York’s website for more specific info.

Also, Reuters has some helpful information on its website on the lunar eclipse.

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