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Tips for the starry eyed

Reader photographers capture ‘celestial’ for the Facebook Picture Competition theme in February.

  • Zohaib Anjum took this photograph of the Milky Way at Wadi ShowkaImage Credit: Zohaib Anjum
  • Ansari M. Joshi’s picture is from Jebel Jais, Ras Al Khaimah.Image Credit: Ansari M. Joshi
  • Biju Sivasankaran’s picture is from Al Wathba, Abu Dhabi.Image Credit: Biju Sivasankaran
Gulf News


People around the world turned their eyes to the night sky on January 31, to observe a blue moon, a supermoon, and a blood moon (a lunar eclipse) occurring at the same time.

The rare event united people from all backgrounds, as no matter who you were, you could seize the opportunity to view a humbling and phenomenal celestial experience.

Our reader photographers went straight for their cameras, of course. But Bill Ingalls, a senior photographer for Nasa, warns in a report by National Geographic, that taking great pictures of lunar phenomena is not as straightforward as you would think.

He said: “Don’t make the mistake of photographing the moon by itself, with no reference to anything. Instead, think of how to make the image creative – that means tying it into some land-based object. It can be a local landmark or anything to give your photo a sense of place.”

And if you don’t care for the bells and whistles of a fancy camera, you can still shoot a stellar picture on your smartphone.

The key is not to zoom in. National Geographic photographer Michael Christopher Brown advises using your optical lens only, and not your digital zoom. That means it’s better not to zoom in on your phone’s sensor before taking the photograph, as this would immediately decrease the picture’s quality. Instead, take the image first, then zoom in to crop or enlarge a specific detail.

Our Facebook Picture Competition theme for February was: Celestial.

We posted the editor’s pick of top three images on Gulf News’ instagram page and asked our followers to vote on the picture that they thought best captured the theme.

The picture competition was also, as usual, opened to voting by our Facebook readers, and they hit the ‘like’ button on the picture they preferred. Here, we collect the results and present the winners with the most cumulative votes.

Editor’s note: If you would like to participate, log on to Gulf News’ Facebook page and send in your submission for March’s Facebook Reader Picture Competition.


Zohaib Anjum took this photograph of the Milky Way at Wadi Showka, located at the edge of Al Hajar Mountains along the eastern border of the UAE in Ras Al Khaimah. Being away from city lights helped him land the shot.

His picture received 591 votes on instagram and five likes on Facebook.


Ansari M. Joshi’s picture is from Jebel Jais, Ras Al Khaimah. He said: ‘I took this picture on the night of a supermoon, recently. The image of the moon emerging from behind the mountains gives it the look of a half-eaten piece of bread.’

His picture received 563 votes on instagram, and six likes on Facebook.


Biju Sivasankaran’s picture is from Al Wathba, Abu Dhabi. The juxtaposition of a car’s lights, with the bright night sky, gives viewers a sense of perspective.

His picture received 538 votes on instagram and 11 likes on Facebook.