Dubai: Armed with an iPhone and a simple telescope, five amateur Emirati photographers have spent this Ramadan shooting the moon through its different lunar stages.
Sighting the moon is a long-held tradition across the Arab world, where people wait to hear the announcement of the new moon that brings in Eid Al Fitr, the end of the fasting month.
US tech giant Apple, the sponsor of the photography programme, has plastered their moon shots on billboards across both Dubai and Abu Dhabi for residents of the UAE.
“Each time I would be surprised seeing how the moon changes night after night down to the sharpest details,” said Huda Bin Redha. The Emirati works a full-time lawyer but moonlights as a hobby photographer.
“It’s quite humbling to be able to capture beauty beyond this world.”
Emirati explorer and photographer enthusiast Jameela Ahli said she had never tried lunar astro-photography before.
“Every phase of the moon offered something different and was a new challenge to find and focus on that one spot that would give me spectacular clarity.”
Apple is planning to offer iPhone moon photography workshops at their stores in Dubai Mall, Mall of the Emirates and Yas Mall in Abu Dhabi.
How can I take great moon pictures?
All you need to get set up is a smartphone, a simple telescope and a clear night sky.
Here are a few steps to get started:
Step 1: Learn the phases of the moon. It’s easier to capture a moon shot during a full moon. Many craters and other interesting features are visible during this phase.
Step 2: Find the best time and place to shoot. Make sure you’re shooting when there’s a clear night sky with little to no light around. Consider going to the desert to find a good spot.
Step 3: Set up a telescope and line up your smartphone with the eyepiece. Keep one hand free to tweak the settings and fix the angle of your shot.
Step 4: Turn off the flash. You won’t need it as the moon is bright.
Step 5: Tap and hold to lock focus. This is key to getting a clear shot.
Step 6: Drag to lower exposure. Because the moon is so bright relative to the night sky, it will be over-exposed.
Step 7: Practice. Don’t be discouraged if your first shots are not perfect.