Sometimes you do need better tools

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On September 27, 2015, we got a chance to experience the Super Blood Moon, a full lunar eclipse while the moon was at perigee, its closest point to Earth. This is an event that happens infrequently; prior to 2015, the last occurrence was 1982, and the next occurrence will be 2033.


More than a few people remarked online that their smartphone wasn’t cutting it. This is absolutely correct; think of the smartphone as more or less a great landscape camera. It’s good at wide angles. Smartphones are what photographers refer to as sneaker zoom cameras – to get a better close up, walk closer to your intended subject.

Obviously, when the subject is in outer space, this is significantly harder to do. That’s when you do need better equipment.

Normally, photographers of all stripes – myself included – will say that the best camera is the one you have with you, and that’s generally sound advice. There are rare occasions when only good quality, specialized equipment will do, however, and a super blood moon is one of them.

However, even in the case of a super blood moon, the equipment is not enough. The equipment is the table stake, the bare minimum you need to get in the game. You also need the knowledge of how to use the equipment properly. The super blood moon – and many other astronomical events – require knowing about exposures, shutter speeds, apertures, and ISO settings to get the most out of the equipment.

The super blood moon required significant changes during the event, going from capturing only some of the light (because the moon was so bright, it was easy to overexpose) to capturing every last photon available at the peak of the eclipse.

The super blood moon required the right tools and the right skills in order to maximize the opportunity. Obviously, if you had only a smartphone, you did your best. If you had a DSLR with a zoom lens, you could do more. If you knew the inner workings of your camera, you got the most out of your setup. When opportunity arrived, the results you got were proportional to the investment of resources and knowledge you had.

This is also true of your marketing, and anything else you do. The better prepared you are, the more you can leverage every opportunity that comes your way. Always do your best, but recognize that sometimes,

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