5 tips for photographing the 2019 Red or Blood Moon

5 tips for photographing the 2019 Red or Blood Moon

The first month of 2019 starts off well for astronomy lovers. And it is that next Monday, January 21, a total lunar eclipse will take place , which is a phenomenon popularly known as the red moon or blood moon, in which the Moon will be dyed red.

This will happen because the sunlight will be blocked by the Earth. The Moon will be placed between the two and will be illuminated by sunlight reflected by the Earth . This rarely happens, but people in northern and western Europe, including those in Spain, will have the opportunity to witness the phenomenon. Of course, the sky must be clear.

And as it will be a unique and unusual experience, it is likely that many of us want to photograph the Red Moon. Before you get down to work next Monday, maybe you should take a look at these five tips from photographer David Noton , Canon's ambassador.

moon photography

1. Use apps to stay informed

The first and most important thing: know very well in what circumstances the phenomenon will occur. It is important that you have controlled the position of the Sun in the sky, because it can vary a lot, depending on the latitude and the season of the year. With the Moon it is different, because the movement through the sky is governed by its elliptical orbit around the Earth.

In any case, you should know that you will not need to do any calculations to know what is the best time to contemplate and logically photograph the phenomenon. All you have to do is download an application on your mobile . This way you will know exactly the direction, the phases of the Moon, its position in the sky and the times of sunrise and sunset. To get this valuable information you can download Photographer's Ephemeris and Photopills.

2. Find a lens with a good optical zoom

When taking photos we can use an angle lens to capture the Moon within a landscape or take a photo in which the Moon practically fills the entire frame . The latter is a good option if you want to portray the craters and the satellite surface with much more precision.

Obviously, you will not be able to do the latter if you are not an astronomer and have a powerful telescope. Of course, there are options. To photograph the Moon  David Noton will use a very long telephoto lens for a full format digital reflex camera. This one has a focal length of about 600mm. Also a Canon EOS R camera with an EF 200-400mm f / 4L IS USM lens with a 1.4x multiplier and a 24-70mm f / 2.8 L III for wide shots.

3. Use a tripod

Whichever camera you choose, you should know that in order to obtain accurate images, you will need a tripod. The Moon moves very fast across the sky, so in addition to using a good telephoto lens, you will need a good tripod. Make sure it is stable and solid. With the moon more than 384,000 kilometers away , the effects of light movements are exponentially increased.

blood Moon

4. Control the shutter speed

To achieve evocative results when photographing the Moon, it is important to balance the light from the satellite with the twilight in the sky around it. With a shutter speed that is too slow, you will see an unsightly and inconspicuous trail, even if you use a wide-angle lens. Hence, it is so important to control it. 

5. Try to integrate the Moon into the landscape

For the photographer it is much better to integrate the Moon into the landscape, because the images obtained have much more charm . In fact, images in which only the lunar surface is appreciated are often of purely astronomical interest. Achieving the effect that the photographer proposes is complicated, because although the lunar surface is very bright, the amount of light it reflects is scarce. To achieve good results, Noton recommends equipment such as the Canon EOS-1D X Mark II, EOS 5D Mark IV or the brand new Canon EOS R.