Anna is a reporter at the Bay of Plenty Times

How to catch the best supermoon shot

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SUPER BRIGHT: Experts say the moon will be seen at its best tonight.  PHOTO/CYNTHIA QIU
SUPER BRIGHT: Experts say the moon will be seen at its best tonight. PHOTO/CYNTHIA QIU

Local astronomers and photographers are awaiting prime conditions to view the supermoon, which is set to be at 99.8 per cent visibility tonight.

Member of the Tauranga Astronomical Society Stuart Murray said prime conditions would be to find the moon rising from a low point in the eastern horizon.

"It will look even larger, once it gets into high angles it can look smaller," he said.

"It's a balance of how bright the sky is and what time it is rising, I would suggest 8pm providing there is no cloud," he said.

"It'll certainly be interesting to watch."

He said it looked "quite bright" on Sunday night, and that 12.20pm would also possibly be a good time to see the moon.

Photographer Amit Kamble said ideal spots to snap the moon could be from around Leisure Island in Mount Maunganui or Fergusson Park, to ensure a "clear view of the east".

"You have houses and trees around there to get a sense of scale of the moon."

Mr Kamble said at 8.40pm tonight there should be about 99.8 per cent visibility of the moon, dependant on weather conditions.

Cynthia Qiu, who runs a photography class in Tauranga, said keen photographers would find snapping the moon like shooting pictures of stars, "but easier".

She said issues people may come up against would be over exposing the moon, due to its brightness.

"The moon is like a big light bulb."

Ms Qiu said if photographers had a camera with a super zoom, "that is ideal for shooting the moon".

"If conditions are good, you can shoot even from the backyard. Keep it simple and avoid clouds".

Tips for optimal pictures of the supermoon from Cynthia Qiu:

- Start the shutter speed at about 1/125 of a second
- Set aperture to F/11
- Keep ISO setting around base ISO, usually 100 or 200
- Use a 200mm+ telephoto lens, if you have a super zoom camera you're in luck
- Use a tripod to keep it still
- Use live view if it's available on your camera to get a perfect focus

The current forecast according to MetService is for rain at 8pm tonight, but easing off into the evening.

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