May 7, 2012

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A Well Planned Supermoon

image by Chris Kotsiopoulos, Greece

I couln't resist to send you this, after I saw 'THE LITTLEST SUPERMOON' at yesterday's LPOD!

They say that a good photo must have a story to tell. So what's the story with this one? This photo was taken at 05/05/2012 and it is the largest full Moon of the year. The impression of the 'super Moon' is reinforced by the fact that there are people in front of the Moon that look small. Even if it was the smallest full Moon of the year it still would look huge because of the well planned shooting conditions. That's the other side of the story, the technical part which is not so obvious. These are some of the challenges:

- The distance from the temple must be carefully chosen. At this focal length (1200 mm) the minimum distance where the Moon and the temple are both focused is about 1500 meters. The distance at this photo is 1600 meters. If we get closer, the foreground or the background will be out of focus. If we get further, people will look too small and as a result we lose this nice scale between the people and the Moon.

- The time must be exactly during the sunset. If we shoot earlier, the contrast between the sky and the Moon is not good resulting to a very faint Moon. A few minutes after the sunset, the Sounio archeological site closes, so if we shoot later there are no people to include on the photo. I'm taking photos at Sounio since 2008 and as far as I remember this was the first time I had the opportunity to capture the full Moon with this narrow timing.

- The shooting spot requires extreme precision. In order to create that 'super Moon' feeling we want the Moon exactly where the people are. This is accomplished with thorough study of the area and many try and error attempts.

- I really wanted to use a big focal length for this one, so I did something unusual. This photo was taken with an 8 inch Dobsonian telescope. This is a heavy scope primarily for visual observation but apparently it can be used for photography as well.

- The focal length and the distance from the temple didn't allow me to capture the whole scene with one shot, so I stitched 6 photos to a panorama.

Well. That's it. Another super Moon is history. Until the next one!

Chris Kotsiopoulos

Technical Details
5/5/2012 20:07 - 20:08. 8" reflector + Canon EOS DIGITAL REBEL XTi, Shutter Speed 1/200 x 6 shots panorama, Aperture Value 6.0, ISO 200, Focal length 1200mm

Related Links
Chris' website

Yesterday's LPOD: The Littlest Supermoon

Tomorrow's LPOD: Two Islands, Two Moons


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