Once in a Blue (Super)Moon

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If you have explored this blog, you may have encountered a few posts about photographing a supermoon. Like the Blood Wolf Moon or the Pink one. Even a recording of a Clubhouse talk among passionate moon-chasers.

There is a lot I like about photographing a supermoon. From the excitement of waiting for the day to come to the hours spent to find and scout a location, determine a good alignment, wait for the shot… Even more so when I photograph a moonset, because when you go out in the middle of the night, you can hardly see what the sky looks like. So, it has a bit of gambling adrenaline.

All the scouting and planning, even the use of apps like PhotoPills to pinpoint a location, is part of my workshops. If you’re interested, keep your eyes peeled, come back here often and follow my Instagram Stories at @fabienb.

The ‘Blue’ supermoon

Only a couple of full moons every year qualify as supermoons, and I have discussed the definition in the previous posts. Therefore, you only have a handful of chances to get it right.
Photos like the one I will show you later in this post can be a matter of trial and error for several years. Particularly in countries like the UK where the weather can be unpredictable and ruin all your expectations. It’s always so reliably unreliable here…
There is a very good example of weather-induced failure in my video review of the Fujifilm 150-600mm lens.

And the photo you’ll see is still not exactly as I want it, so I will keep trying for who knows how long.

What is peculiar with this supermoon is that it is the second full moon to happen in the same calendar month. A rare event that is defined as a blue moon. It’s so rare that you refer to “once in a blue moon” when you want to talk about something unlikely to happen too soon. The next one will be in 14 years (2037), this rare.

Heading out

The first full moon of this month went hiding behind bad weather, as it often happens here (I will never stop complaining about it). So I was crossing all my fingers and toes very tight for this one. I also noticed that the moonset would align perfectly for a shot I have been trying to take for a few years, and I was hoping to finally get it.

My location of choice for this shot was 21km away (13 miles), so it required quite some time to reach via public transport. I went out at 2 a.m., jumped on the bus, and played music in my headphones. Honestly, I’m not too fond of going solo with my gear in the middle of the night and even less in East London and near a sign asking drug dealers to stop antisocial behaviour. Though a friend of mine was mugged on the Millennium Bridge. No place is really safe. Good thing I have insurance.

Anyway… It took me about 90 minutes to arrive and I still had about 30 to find the right spot, put the camera and the 100-400mm lens on the tripod, decide on the composition and get ready. Despite the rain only a couple hours earlier, the sky was clearing up and the moon was visible. We were off to a good start.

The Shot

But, of course, it didn’t last long. In the night sky, you couldn’t really see it, but the moon started disappearing behind a thick low cloud. Just a few minutes before it would enter my frame.
I thought I was set for failure once again, a victim of the UK weather. So I didn’t start my timelapse when I wanted to, and just waited to see… well, nothing.

And suddenly, the supermoon popped out of the clouds! Somehow, there was a clearing very low on the horizon. Something I would have probably missed had I not been on a high vantage point.

It was only visible for two minutes, and never really showed the full rounded face. But I was very happy nonetheless. For I had not wasted the whole night and still managed to get a decent shot out of it.

The Blue Moon 'supermoon' setting behind the City of London

Unfortunately, when you take a photo from such a distance, all the pollution, haze and atmospheric elements get in your way. It is really hard to get a sharp and clean image, if not impossible. Even more so in a heavily polluted city like London. Between the noise caused by the high ISO and said interference, I had to edit the image ever so slightly. But I am pleased with it and happy to share this with you.

What next?

I will try to shoot again tonight if the weather cooperates (and it doesn’t seem to). It won’t be 100% full, but at 99%, it is still ’round enough’ to make for a good photo. We’ll see. If all goes to plan, it will be in my Stories for sure ;)

If you are interested in photographing the full moon yourself, you can start by checking when the next ones will happen. And I have listed them all here, along with some extra info.

If you wish to join me in photographing the full moon in all its splendour, I regularly host a Full Moon Photography event in London.
More info and bookings are available on the dedicated page.

See you there! Cheers!

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Creative. Nomad. Photographer. (he/him) /// formerly: Creative Director, UX Lead, DesignOps Manager, Web/Graphic Designer, Photographer, YouTuber, DJ, Public Speaker, Content Creator, AI-enthusiast, Food-Blogger... /// Award-winning Designer and Photographer, published and exhibited worldwide /// also known as Koan (DJ, Design)

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