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Don’t miss the closest full supermoon of the century

Press release   •   Nov 04, 2016 10:00 GMT

The November full supermoon is taking place on Monday 14th November and will be the closest full moon of the century

We won’t see a full supermoon come this close to the Earth again until 2034

Astro-photographers Andrew Whyte, UK and Albert Dros, Holland captured incredible imagery of the October supermoon in breath-taking detail, made possible with Sony’s G Master telephoto lens and α7 series cameras; combining beautifully sharp high resolution with creative defocusing effects. Sony’s powerful sensor technology is ideally poised to capture such sensational low light photography

This astronomical occurrence is incredibly rare; taking place every one to two years and provides a fascinating subject for astro-photographers around the world

With the second full supermoon of the year taking place on November 14th, ensure you capture striking photography of the astro-phenomenon wherever you are, using top tips from Astro-photographer Andrew Whyte, and kit including Sony’s G Master lenses.

The wonder of the full Supermoon is a rare, astronomical occurrence that takes place when a full or new moon is at its closest point to the Earth on its elliptical orbit. This wondrous­ phenomenon captures the minds of astro photographers across the world as it provides a rare opportunity to take awe-inspiring imagery of the moon at its greatest.

Be inspired by Astro photographer Andrew Whyte and capture your own photo series, marvel at the sheer size of the moon during this natural phenomenon. Andrew Whyte shares his tips for capturing the upcoming supermoons –

1/ Use apps & maps to prepare for your shoot

Information about moonrise times & positions is readily available online and can be cross referenced with maps to help confirm if the shot you’re seeking is possible. Try to include a landmark or landscape feature in your scene. This usually means photographing when the moon is low to the horizon, so make sure there’s nothing in the background that can obstruct your view of the moon- tall buildings, for instance, or in more rural settings, a copse of trees or distant hilltops.

2/ Do all you can to minimise vibrations

Anything that causes a camera to vibrate can lead to a loss of sharp detail in your final image. Fortunately the Sony 70-200 GM lens I used for this shoot has a built-in stabilisation feature which proved very effective at overcoming my slight natural movements. A solid tripod and cable release [or the unique Touchless Shutter app from the PlayMemories app store] further helps to minimise the chance of movement.

3/ Take control of your camera

For consistent results you need to instruct the camera what settings to apply. I prefer to shoot in Manual mode but Shutter priority can also be used- on the Sony α7R II these can be found respectively in the M and S positions on the Camera Mode dial. The moon moves swiftly across the sky so, in either case, it’s important to select a shutter speed above 1/100sec (or higher for longer focal lengths), then adjust brightness using ISO (Manual mode) or the Exposure Compensation dial (Shutter priority).

4/ Use autofocus

Photographing a large landmark from a distance gives you the best chance of retaining sharp focus across the whole scene- I stood up to 3km away from my chosen subjects! At that distance you may be able to use autofocus although I opted to focus manually, helped by the α7R II’s zoom assist and focus peaking features. These functions are invaluable in low-light conditions as they firstly magnify the focus area within the viewfinder, then show small coloured highlights to confirm that the area is in focus.

5/ Keep shooting and watch the scene evolve

Even the best-framed photo can be interrupted for better- or worse. From an inopportune passer-by in the foreground to a well-timed bird or plane in front of the moon- t. Take a few photos in quick succession for each composition and watch ahead for anything entering or leaving the frame, as some “lucky” shots are really the product of the photographer’s vision and anticipation.

6/ Stay out late & get creative

As the moon rises higher and the sky darkens, so arrives the chance to capture a different kind of image. By choosing a subject much closer to your position- a contorted tree, architectural feature or even friends for a moonlit portrait- you’ll help to throw the background out of focus and enjoy city lights or stars which render as soft, overlapping circles (commonly known as ‘bokeh’) instead of pinpricks of light. Again, the 70-200 GM excelled at capturing a scene with sharply focused foreground and gorgeously blurred background.

Yann Salmon Legagneur, Head of Product Marketing, Digital Imaging for Sony Europe, commented, “The opportunity to take images like these doesn’t come around often, and in this fleeting moment it can be incredibly hard to make sure you get the best shot, not only due to factors such as location and weather, but also due to kit specifications. However the incredible resolution Sony’s G Master lenses can bring out in combination with beautiful defocusing capabilities will give photographers the best chance possible.”

Never miss a moment with Sony’s α7s II and α7R II cameras plus range of G Master lenses for every occasion; allowing photographers, hobbyist and professionals alike, to capture incredible photographic moments, anywhere, anytime.

– Ends –

Notes to Editors

For more information or images, please contact Hope&Glory:

Six interesting supermoon facts:

  • 1.A supermoon occurs when a full or new moon is at its closest point to the Earth on its elliptical orbit, it can appear 7% bigger and 30% brighter than an average full moon
  • 2.It wasn’t until 1979 that Astrologer Richard Nolle first defined the supermoon, which is now a widely-used term, as “a new or full moon which occurs with the moon at or near (within 90% of) its closest approach to Earth in a given orbit”
  • 3.The moon has to be 226,000 miles away from the Earth to be considered ‘super’ which normally happens only once every 14 months. However, there will be no supermoons in 2017
  • 4.Because of its close proximity to the Earth, the moon’s surface appears a lot bigger when a supermoon occurs, which makes for stunning photography
  • 5.A winter supermoon is supersized, as the Earth is closest to the Sun in December each year, which means its gravity pulls the moon closer to the planet making it appear brighter and larger than those that occur during the rest of the year
  • 6.Supermoons will get smaller in the future as the moon is slowly propelling itself out of Earth’s orbit, moving 3.8cm further from the Earth each year

Product Information

Sony G Master 70-200 lens;

  • Covering the frequently used 70-200mm focal range, the FE 70-200mm F2.8 GM OSS telephoto zoom lens (model SEL70200GM) offers extremely high rendering, AF performance and image stabilisation, making it a versatile choice for shooting wildlife, sports, weddings and a variety of other events and locations.
  • The new flagship telephoto zoom model delivers extraordinary sharpness and clarity throughout the entirety of its zoom range thanks to its three advanced lens elements including XA, Super ED and ED glass components, as well as its Nano AR coating.
  • The FE 70-200mm F2.8 GM OSS lens features a floating focusing system – implemented in an α zoom lens for the first time – that contributes to an impressive minimum focusing distance of merely 0.96m and ensures AF performance is optimised during both still and video shooting. The lens includes a SSM (Super Sonic Motor) plus dual linear motors that work together to move large lens elements quickly - a task that requires a high level of drive control and ensures focus accuracy. The new model also has built in Optical SteadyShot™ image stabilisation for capturing sharp, blur-free subjects at all focal lengths and a rotating tripod mount that allows the camera to be quickly removed from a connected tripod as needed.
  • The 70-200mm telephoto zoom lens is dust and moisture resistant with an additional fluorine coating added to the front lens. It also has a focus hold button as well as a focal range limiter.
  • Sony has also announced new compact 1.4x and 2x Teleconverters – models SEL14TC and SEL20TC respectively – that offer even greater reach while maintaining the overall streamlined design and feel of the 70-200mm lens.

Sony α7R II camera:

The new α7R II interchangeable lens camera features the world’s first back-illuminated full-frame Exmor R CMOS sensor, which delivers high resolution (42.4 MP approx. effective megapixels), high sensitivity (expandable up to ISO 102400 and high speed AF response up to 40% faster than the original α7R thanks to 399 focal plane phase detection AF points.

The camera also includes a 5-axis image stabilisation system borrowed from the acclaimed α7 II model and can shoot and record 4K video in multiple formats including Super 35mm (without pixel binning) andfull-frame format, a world’s first for digital cameras. Additionally, it has a newly refined XGA OLED Tru-Finder with the world’s highest (0.78x) viewfinder magnification.

Sony α7s II camera:

The new α7s II features incredibly high sensitivity (expandable up to ISO 409600), wide dynamic range, 5-axis image stabilisation, internal recording of 4K movies in full-frame format featuring fill pixel readout and no pixel binning.

The camera also features compressed and uncompressed 14-Bit RAW image capture, and along with an improved image processing algorithm delivers high-quality images with spectacular details.

The camera is also compatible with Sony’s growing line-up of α-mount lenses, which now totals 64 different models. 

Sony Corporation is a leading manufacturer of audio, video, imaging, game, communications, key device and information technology products for the consumer and professional markets. With its music, pictures, computer entertainment and online businesses, Sony is uniquely positioned to be the leading electronics and entertainment company in the world. Sony recorded consolidated annual sales of approximately $72 billion for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2016. Sony Global Web Site: