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Sweet supermoon rising

The Maryland Science Center's Crosby Ramsey Memorial Observatory is a great place to see the supermoon.
The Maryland Science Center's Crosby Ramsey Memorial Observatory is a great place to see the supermoon.Antonio D. Paterniti

Astrologer Richard Nolle coined the term supermoon in 1979 when referring to either a new or full moon at its closest orbit to the Earth. Astronomers do not use this term and prefer to use the term "perigee-syzygy or perigee full/new moon" meaning the Moon making its closest approach to the Earth. Miss the supermoon on January 30 2014? No worries as 2014's biggest supermoon will be on August 10.

The sweet sight of the supermoon!
The sweet sight of the supermoon!Antonio D. Paterniti

Hope for clear skies, bring a tripod, zoom lens and cable or remote shutter release. Even though the Moon appears to move slowly in the sky, when photographing our satellite with a zoom lens, it will zip across the field of view. The surface of the Moon reflects light from the Sun and is bright! Favor a lower film speed (ISO 100 or 200) otherwise the Moon will appear like an indistinct white disk.

Try to incorporate a local landmark or easily recognizable building. A long lens such as 200 to 400mm is a great choice to capture great detail and perhaps even see some craters. The longer the lens the cleaner the detail. However, with new cameras packed with megapixels, a 200mm lens will provide enough detail as long as the image is not over exposed (zoom and crop with editing software). Compose a great image by putting that local landmark between the Moon and the lens.

Bracketing or shooting multiple images above and below what the camera meter suggests will allow for combining images with different exposures. Available software will effortlessly combine multiple images into a single pleasing composition with more well rounded contrast that is not always possible with a single exposure.

Head out and practice on mini-moons and hone the necessary skills for August's supermoon. Experiment with different exposures, depth of field and even lenses. Scout out easily recognizable locations to incorporate in the final image.