How to take a photo of tonight's supermoon with your smartphone
Cameras at the ready
2016 has been deemed the year of supermoons but what makes the one appearing tonight, 14 November 2016, special is its massive size due to the moon being in an extremely close proximity to Earth—the nearest since 1948. As a result, the supermoon will appear 14 per cent bigger and 30 per cent brighter than the average full moon. In astronomy terms, it's called perigee.
In Malaysia itself, the supermoon is expected to show from 7.24pm onwards and become full at 9.54pm, as reported by the National Space Agency (Angkasa). The agency's head of space science research unit, Zahira Mohd Radzi told The Star that it can be viewed until dusk the next day from any place with a clear view of the sky.
Since it's such a huge (pun unintended) phenomenon, you'll definitely want to take a picture of it; so we've rounded up some tips to help you take a stunning supermoon photo with your trusty smartphone.
1. Composition: Capture it with objects in the foreground
Unless it's a super close up photo of the moon taken with the help of a telescope (yes, that's possible), any picture of the supermoon plastered against the dark sky alone will just look like any ordinary photo of the average moon. Using objects in the foreground such as buildings or trees for scale can help to make the moon seem slightly bigger as well as add depth to the snap. The best trick is to of course take it with a local landmark.
2. Don't zoom (unless it's a DSLR)
Doing so will result in blur, grainy and distorted pictures. Choose to crop instead to maintain the finer details.
3. No flash
It's not going to help at all.
4. Remember to wipe your lens
We tend to place our smartphones anywhere and everywhere so if you want a crisp picture, give it a quick swipe with a lens cleaning cloth before you snap.
5. Use a tripod (or anything stable)
Snapping a photo under low light conditions is tricky, much less of a supermoon high above in the vast dark sky. So enlist the help of a tripod or prop your phone against a sturdy elevated surface to avoid any shaky cam effects or in case the shutter speed lags a little. If neither is available to you, try steadying your elbows on top of your hips.
6. Lock the camera's focal point
You know the trick: Tap and hold on the subject to lock the focus on it. Otherwise, the camera might keep auto-adjusting it.
7. Adjust the exposure levels to highlight the details
Once you've locked the focus on the subject (the moon, not the buildings), it's time to lower or increase the exposure levels. Just be sure not to make it too bright as you'd still want to see the shape of the supermoon.
If you do happen to miss the supermoon tonight, don't worry as you'll get another chance to view it on 14 December 2016—it just won't be as big.