A Moon over 30 Years in the Making:

A Moon over 30 Years in the Making:

Six Tips for Super "Blood Moon" Photography
By Alex McClure, Olympus Trailblazer

Six Tips for Super "Blood Moon" Photography
By Alex McClure, Olympus Trailblazer

1 Plan Ahead

Pick a shooting location with clear skies. The last thing you want to be is in a place that develops afternoon clouds, so be sure to check the local weather reports.

2 Keep Steady

Use a tripod! A stable platform is very important when shooting the moon. The longer the lens, the more support and stability is needed. You will have to slow your shutter speed down as the moon gets darker and changes to orange and then red colors. I also like using the Olympus RM-UC1 remote cable release to keep the camera from moving.

Editor’s Note: Using the O.I. Share App to remotely trigger compatible cameras will also keep your camera from moving.

Moon over Flatiron, shot with Olympus E-M1 & M.Zuiko 40-150mm f/4.0-5.6 at ISO 100.

3 Pick the Right Lens

Shoot with a telephoto lens that is 300mm or longer. I recommend either the M.ZUIKO 75-300mm f4.8-6.7 lens or the M.ZUIKO 40-150mm f2.8 PRO + MC14 1.4x Teleconverter (resulting in 210mm in coverage). When it comes to shooting the moon, the bigger the lens, the better!

4 Keep your Eye on your Settings

Monitor and adjust your settings during the different phases of the lunar event. As the moon begins traveling across the night sky, it’s moving at a rapid rate of speed, so you need to start your shooting at around 1/640 second, f/6.7 and ISO 200. As the moon gets darker, make sure to lower your shutter speed and raise the ISO. When the moon goes dark, you will have to open your aperture all the way up; with the M.ZUIKO 75-300mm that’s f6.7, but with the M.ZUIKO 40-150mm f2.8 PRO and MC-14 that’s f4. You will also need to bump your ISO up to around 4,000 and slow your shutter down to 1/10 second, depending on your lens. Lastly, as the moon comes out of the Earth’s shadow, you will need to do the opposite for your settings; remember to raise your shutter speed and lower the ISO.

5 Shoot from Start to Finish

Take multiple shots of the moon going in and out of the eclipse. Taking multiple shots ensures that you can create a composite post-production image that shows the total lunar transformation throughout the event.

Composite shot with the Olympus E-M1 & M.Zuiko 75-300mm lens.
The start of the eclipse 1/640 Sec, f/6.7 and ISO 200 & Blood moon, 1/10 Sec at f/6.7, ISO 4000.

6 Know your Features

Try using your camera’s specialized features to help you capture the drama of the lunar cycle.
For instance, try using Focus Peaking (recent model PEN and OM-D cameras) and Zoom Magnifier to focus on the moon.

Get more tips from Olympus Pros in the Olympus Learn Center.


Alex McClure, an avid photographer for over 30 years, joined the Olympus Trailblazer program in 2013. Alex works to achieve his stated goal to “make beautiful photographs that inspire and motivate people” through his nature, commercial and fine art photography.

Read more about Alex

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