Blue Moon March 30th, 2018


Last Night we had a Full Moon for a second time in March. Whenever two full moons appear in one month, which happens about once every 2.66 years, the second is christened a “Blue Moon.”

And yet, this is the Second Blue Moon since the beginning of the year. The second time in three months that two full moons have occurred in a calendar month. What is the reason for this anomaly? The length of time for the moon to cycle from one full moon to the next (29.53 days, on average) is called a “synodic” month. February is the only calendar month that is shorter than a synodic month, and this year, it did not have a full moon. So, to make up for this lack, March ended up with an extra full moon. There were also two full moons in January, thus giving us two Blue Moons over just 60 days, though Saturday’s Blue Moon will be the last one until 2020.

I tried a variety of setups to photograph this Blue Moon. I was using a 400mm f/4 lens. The 400mm by itself would not have enough reach, So I tried the following combinations. 400mm with a 1.4X Teleconverter, 400mm with a 2X teleconverter and finished with 2x Teleconverter with a 1.4X teleconverter stacked together. Sometimes the stacked teleconverters work, sometimes it does not. Stacking the teleconverters, I was worried about sharpness so I used a combination of a very high ISO and an f/stop of f/25 with a high shutter speed. Stacking teleconverters for Wildlife is tricky and does not always work well, but I thought it would work for the moon.

Blue Moon w 1_4X&2X_stack_43G5045 v2

Image showing moon sizes with different teleconverters and combinations.

Blue Moon v1_43G4916

There was a glow around the moon, but the moon was so bright, I exposed for the bright moon and forced the glow to show a little.

3 image vertical panorama showing Blue Moon with cloud formation below the moon. To expose for the cloud below the moon would just be a white blown out circle. I just brought up the brightness a little so the  clouds below the moon were somewhat visible.

4 Comments on “Blue Moon March 30th, 2018

  1. It was fascinating to see all of the different combinations you used to photograph the moon. I too was taken by the moon when I went out to grab my newspaper from my front stairs at 5:00 on Saturday morning. I grabbed my camera and took some shots, which were ok, but nowhere near as detailed as your wonderful images.

  2. Thanks Mike! I keep trying different ways to see what works best. I used to use an 800mm with a 2x teleconverter but I am getting too old for that heavy a lens with a gimbal head on a heavy tripod!

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