The Supermoon 2016 – Dubai
Photographing the moon is pretty straight forward; all you need is a long (very long) lens, a tripod and of course a camera. The moon also is pretty bright, so to get the best exposure, your shutter speed has to be a lot faster than you think. As well as this, if you don’t have a huge telephoto lens, it’s worth getting a point of interest in the shot, to give it an environment to sit in.
After a bit of research, I found there would be a few different places to get some good shots of the moon as it rose from the horizon, from Mushrif Park to The Palm. As I only had the canon 70-200mm I figured it would be best to head out to the Palm and get the iconic Burj Al Arab with the moon.
I use an app called moonseeker to work out where it is going to rise at. I normally find this to be ok, but this time it seemed to freak out and not give me an accurate location to shoot from. (Next time, I’m taking a compass).
Tip: With a compass and the Moonseeker app, you will be able to switch it to gyroscopic mode and manually program in the heading to get a more accurate position.
I headed down to the Palm at around 4.30, to give me enough time to scope out the area, find a location and set up camp. However with the app freaking out, I decided to set the camera on the tripod, but keep mobile and not get too bedded in for the night! As we turned up, it seemed as though a lot of others had the same idea! There were a slurry of professionals amongst a lot of amateur photographers. Some people get annoyed at the digital boom and the flood of photographers these days, but I think it’s great! The more the merrier I say!!
I took this image (right) on my iphone before the crowds arrived! So much expensive kit!! Especially the cineflex!!!
As we drew nearer to the moonrise time, a lot more people arrived and started jostling for their perfect positions. So we sat and waited…….and waited and waited some more. Then to our left, I could see a few photographers starting to click away! Hmmmmm……it seemed as though my gut instinct to set up where I did was a little off. We quickly moved to the left, and within 50ft, the moon came into view. It had been hiding behind the Burj Al Arab for a couple of minutes until we had realized!
So we missed the initial rise from the horizon but the moon was still a deep orangey yellowish colour and right up along side the Burj. I had the 70-200mm set at 200mm, at f8 with the shutter at 2 seconds at ISO 100 which gave me a pretty good exposure. I then danced around those settings, with longer and shorter shutter speeds as the light was dropping fast. I also set the camera to a 2 second delay in mirror locked mode. This reduces the risk of camera shake whilst the shutter is open.
One thing to think of when shooting at this time of day is that the light will be changing fast, so you have to keep up with your exposure settings! In the space of half an hour, I went from a 2 second exposure, right through to a 30 second exposure! The other thing to think about is that as the moon rises, it gets brighter and as the sun sets, the ambient light drops, so the higher the moon is, the more over exposed it will become.
So we stayed for about an hour getting different angles and exposures by which time the moon was really bright. The atmosphere was great at the palm. Lots of photographers moving around trying to capture the quickly passing event of the super moon rising. Becky and I were glad to have seen it at such a location, in all it’s glory. I just have to sort out a compass for next time, although, I should be able to pick one up in the next 18 years, before the moon gets this close again!
Manfrotto 055 3 section tripod with an arca swiss ballhead
Canon 6D (Although for this a crop sensor would have been better)
I’ve just started this blog so if you have any feedback please feel free to get in touch, or if you’d like to hear more, keep coming back as I’ll be posting here as much as possible!
Update: One of my pictures was also picked up by What’s On Dubai as one of the top 13 photos of the supermoon! Very pleased with this!! Here is a link to the article (mine is no. 7) and here is the image they liked: