Shooting the Moon

Charlotte Canelli is the Library Director of the Morrill Memorial Library. Read her column in the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin each week.

I find I rarely use my ‘real’ camera these days. This is simply because I carry a camera with me at all times and that is the one in my mobile phone. The candid shots using my phone can be so easy and fun. I email them or post them in seconds to friends and family on Facebook. I also have a photo album (called the camera roll) on the iPhone with me everywhere I go.

There’s a photo of my daughter’s final wedding dress choice taken right in the dressing room of the bridal boutique. Another is of my grandson in his dapper brown suit right when he dashed out the door to his friend’s Bar Mitzvah. Yet more capture my family and friends and my life’s special and significant moments when a larger camera is too inconvenient to carry.

There are other photo opportunities, however, and they still require something more sophisticated. A case in point was this past Saturday night – March 19th or the night of the SuperMoon.

According to Wikipedia, the term SuperMoon was first used in 1979 by an astrologer named Richard Nolle. A SuperMoon is when the Earth, Moon and Sun are lined up and when the Moon “is in its nearest approach to the Earth.” In scientific or astronomic circles this phenomenon is called perigee-syzygy meaning that the Moon is “full or new” (perigee) and the Moon is “closest in its orbit to the earth” (syzygy).

The term SuperMoon works just fine for me. What is especially exciting is that a SuperMoon appears to be up to 30% brighter and 13% larger than most of its other monthly appearances. Some people say that the moon is so bright that it actually generates power on the solar cells.

SuperMoons are actually not that rare. There are occurrences of “full” SuperMoons two or three times each year. We often see the Harvest Moon in October when the Moon is very large and close to the horizon.

What made this past weekend’s SuperMoon exciting was the crystal clear sky surrounding it and the fact that this SuperMoon was the closest it had been in 18 years. Well, close is relative. The Moon was only 221,565 miles away.

As my husband and I were driving home to Norfolk from dinner this past Saturday night we glimpsed this lovely moon out of the corner of our eyes. It peeked out now and again from behind the constant woods that are a part of our New England landscape. Determined to photograph it, we began to chase the moon. Laughing, we spent about fifteen minutes trying to find it undistracted by tree limbs, streetlights or woods. We finally did and I snapped the photo using my mobile phone.

In the end, to my surprise, my photo of an amazing Moon was a bit disappointing. It looked a bit like the streetlights we had tried to avoid!

Moments later after we arrived home I found Gerry digging into the closets and dragging his tripod, SLR digital camera and telephoto lenses out into the frosty backyard. Undaunted by the frigid temperatures, he was determined to capture this Moon. Ah, I thought. He’s trying to show me up with his fancy-schmancy photographic equipment. I rolled my eyes and sighed. Let’s see him capture this amazing phenomenon better than I have!

Moments later he arrived back inside with an astonishing photograph. The frosty and crystalline surface of the Moon with its dark and brooding craters was a sight to behold. The photograph was quite simply an untouched “supershot” of this SuperMoon. It was a photograph that could only be taken with an experienced eye and some rather sophisticated equipment.

If you’d like to learn more about photography, the Morrill Memorial Library has some great books on digital photography, SLR photography and Photoshop enhancements. In addition, we have a current subscription to the magazine, “Popular Photography”.

Scott Kelby’s “The Digital Photography Book: The Step-by-Step Secrets for How to Make Your Photos Look Like the Pros!” Kelby has written three volumes that won’t confuse you with the jargon of the experts. Instead, he gives you great advice on making all your shots better ones and buying equipment that meets your budget.

“The A-Z of Creative Digital Photography” by Lee Frost focuses on the creativity of your work with great tips for ‘touching up photos to adding special effects.” David Pogue is the writer of many ‘missing manuals’ – or the books that were not in the box. His book on digital photography (“David Pogue’s Digital Photography: The Missing Manual”) includes advice on buying a camera to creating better ones on your Mac or PC.

“Mastering Digital SLR Photography” by David D. Busch is subtitled “the serious photographer’s guide to high-quality digital photography.” It focuses on the photograph and not particularly the camera.

And, of course, Kodak turned us all into amateur shutterbugs years ago. I owned a Brownie Kodak camera when I was nine years old. Kodak has advice for us in this digital age in Paul Comon’s book “Kodak, the Art of Digital Photography: How to Compose Winning Pictures.” The focus of this book is on the composition of the photograph.

We have many more books on photography from “Creative Nature and Outdoor Photography” by Brenda Tharp and “The Everything Digital Photography Book: Shoot, Upload, and Enhance Photos Like a Pro” by Rick Doble. If it is Photoshop (CS5 or Elements) that you are interested in the library owns a dozen or more books with expert advice and training. These include titles such as “Digital Photography beyond the Camera: Expert Photoshop and Digital Know-How for Top Quality Images and Prints” by Ian Farrell and “Photoshop Elements 8 All-in-One for Dummies” by Barbara Obermeier.

For help searching in the Minuteman catalog for these titles or for placing requests for all library materials please visit the Morrill Memorial Library, call the Reference librarians (781-769-0200) or visit the Minuteman Library Catalog on our website, www.norwoodlibrary.org.

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