Supermoon over Cleveland Point – December 2016

December 2016 full moon rising over Cleveland Point
December 2016 full moon rising (see also the image gallery below)

The full moon on 14 December 2016 was more spectacular to photograph in the Redlands than the ‘Supermoon’ a month earlier which exited so much media attention.

Supermoons are the popular description for when the full moon appears larger than average because it is close to Earth.

In 2016 we had supermoons in October, November and December, with the November full moon being the closest to Earth since 1948.

The best time to get an interesting photo of any full moon is when it first appears above the horizon (it looks bigger because of the moon illusion) in the context of a familiar setting – city buildings or a natural landscape.

Low loud cover in south east Queensland on the evening of 14 November prevented the moon from being visible until it was well above the horizon. So it was difficult to get great photos of the November 2016 supermoon in the Redlands.

Taking photos of the December supermoon

Supermoon rising over Cleveland Point
The November 2016 full moon over Cleveland Point and low cloud cover

Conditions for photographing the full moon on 14 December were more favourable with minimal cloud cover leading up to the scheduled time of moonrise.

In November, the moon rose before sunset meaning generally brighter conditions less suited to moon photography. In December, sunset occurred before moonrise so the sky was darker before the moon appeared.

My plan for doing the moonshot had already been worked out a month earlier: to catch the full moon rising over Cleveland Point from a vantage point along the Raby Bay foreshore. The camera position and line of sight are shown below.

Where the photo was taken
Camera position and line of sight for photographing the full moon rising over Cleveland Point

Equipment used for photographing the December 2016 full moon was a full frame digital SLR camera (Canon 6D) with telephoto lens (Canon 600mm F/4) on a tripod.

Camera settings were typically:

  • Shutter speeds variously from 1/800th to 1/200th of a second
  • Aperture F/8
  • ISO 12,800

The results

Four shots of the December 2016 full moon rising over Cleveland Point, with North Stradbroke Island in the background are shown in the gallery below. Click to see larger images.

The photos are at time intervals of approximately one minute, showing how fast the moon appears to move and how little time is available to photograph the moon when it is low on the horizon.

Chris Walker

Wild Redlands – 18 December 2016

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