Written by Marjorie Dawson

The Moon on a Stick #52Assignments No. 19

The Moon on a Stick #52Assignments No. 19

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This week’s challenge from the #52Assignments book by Adam Juniper fits with this week’s Supermoon excitement here in New Zealand. The Assignments post ‘Moon on a Stick’ could not be more perfect. Not cats were harmed in the taking of these photos, they were asleep indoors.

The aim of this week’s challenge in the book is to hold your smartphone to the eyepiece of a telescope. If you can do this – go for it, your photos will be much better than you think!

Your photos you get will also be much better than mine because I broke my tripod and my DSLR shots had to be ‘hand held’. This is my first venture into astrophotography and it could have been a lot worse.

Image of the May 2021 Super Moon in New Zealand
Lunar Eclipse – ISO 100 250 mm f/11 1/160

Supermoons are not uncommon ad they happen every month, but the combination of a Supermoon with a Lunar Eclipse is a much rarer event. For the first time in forty years, the ‘double’ happened over New Zealand and the sky was crystal clear for everyone to enjoy the view. These photos are not my best, but I learned a lot and will try again with an ordinary moon next time.

You can see some superb Supermoon images on Stuff the New Zealand news site.

Image of the May 2021 Super Moon in New Zealand
Approaching Lunar Eclipse – ISO 100 250 mm f/11 1/125

The lunar eclipse lasted for about five hours, beginning shortly before 9pm and reaching totality between about 11.11pm and 11.25pm


Moon Camera Settings

I was not sure about camera settings so I checked my favourite YouTube channel Photo Genius** and it came up with the goods. My smartphone took a terrible blurry blob but more modern phones will take a great picture if you can access a telescope.

  • Have a good zoom lens. Mine is 55-250 mm and it was not quite strong enough. A 300 mm lens will give better photographs. The zoom needs to be fully extended and you need to turn off image stabilisation* on your camera and/or your lens if you have them.
  • Focus on the moon only for proper exposure.
  • A tripod keeps your photos steady. You can use a two-second self-timer to remove any risk camera shake.
  • ISO should be set at 100 and set your camera to use the central focus point.
  • Aperture f/11 to start with then move up or down depending on how the moon looks through your lens.
  • Shutter speed 1/125. If it’s too bright increase the shutter speed to 1/160. Take a test shot and adjust again if necessary.
Image of the May 2021 Super Moon in New Zealand
Complete Lunar Eclipse – ISO 100 250 mm f/11 1/250

Even though my photographs are not perfect, I was thrilled to actually get pictures of the moon and, most importantly, I learned the importance of correct settings and the correct lens. I also aim to have a working tripod next time!

Did you take any photos of the Supermoon, or were you just blown away by the event?

Moon on a Stick Resources

  • Image stabilisation* is a family of techniques that reduce blurring associated with the motion of a camera or other imaging device during exposure. – Wikipedia
  • Supermoon Report by New Zealand’s premier online newspaper Stuff (great pictures!)
  • Taking photos of the Moon ** Photo Genius YouTube tutorial. DSLR users.
  • Smartphone moon photos with Pickr.

#52Assignments Series Information:

The 52 Assignment Posts Details:

Marjorie Dawson

Marjorie is a motorbike riding blogger and award winning cat photographer who believes that everyone can shoot and edit wonderful pictures they love regardless of the camera they use.

She is a Professional member of the Cat Writers Association, Kuykendall Image Award winner and published photographer at the Guardian newspaper.

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8 thoughts on “The Moon on a Stick #52Assignments No. 19”

  1. First of all, Peanut is adorable! What a face. Secondly, I never though about holding a smartphone up to your telescope -I wouldn’t think that could work! Great lunar shots, they look so professional.

  2. Great moon pics! I love shooting the moon on my Nikon (rather than my Canon) as I have an extra built-in zoom. Love that feature. I do have 800-1000 zoom lens that I have yet to use (what??!!) I need to get an adapter for my tripod to hold the heavy awesome lens and then I want to shoot not only the moon, but wildlife!

    I love the tip about shooting with the phone’s camera. I have just an iPhone 8 and while I cannot complain about my photos, even my moon pics with Wolf as I was more focused on him and the one of shooting it peeking from behind a tree came out fine, I had wished I had my 35mm for those great closeup crater shots. I’ve been hemming and hawing on getting the iP 12 Pro, and think I just made up my mind to do it! My daughter has it and it takes amazing photos, I was standing my ground that I had my 35mm babies…only as in this past moon walk with Wolfie, of course I did not have it, but only my iP! The tip you had linked shows great pics can be taken with the better models. Sold! Time to upgrade so if I get caught without my camera, I still can take awesome pics on my cell. Great post! Pinning to share!

  3. Love your lunar photos. These are such great tips, Marjorie! I will use them the next time I take photos of the moon. 🙂

    Looking good, Peanut!

  4. Wow, you can see the craters on the moon! I think Peanut thinks: I am way more ‘impawrtant’ than any moon, LOL!!

    A couple years ago, I made a series of pics of a lunar eclipse, too. I had my camera on max zoom, and held it steady…more or less…on the railing of the porch. Had no idea what I was doing…but I did want to capture it. I didn’t know about turning off the image stabilization.
    Anyways the better pics are here in my blog post:


    Just copy paste that URL and you can see it.

  5. Very impressive, moon photos are amazing but a wee bit difficult, thanks for sharing those tips. Peanut is such a cutie. Thanks for joining our Thankful Thursday Blog Hop!

  6. What lovely shots of the moon. No one, and I mean no one wants to see any photograph I take. I couldn’t take a good picture for love or money. I sure do appreciate those that can.

    Have a fabulous Thankful Thursday. ♥


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