Features

Super Blue Blood Moon 2018 and the tech you need to capture it

January 31 brings a lunar trifecta: Everything you need to know!

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A once in lifetime event is happening on January 31st.

It’s a called the Super Blue Blood Moon eclipse — a total lunar eclipse (Blood Moon) happening on the second full moon of the month (Blue Moon), at the time when the moon is closest and looks largest (Super Moon). 

A total phase of darkness during this amazing lunar eclipse will be visible in Asia, Australia, North East Europe, Russia, parts of the US, the Indian Ocean, and the Pacific, and will last up to 1 hour and 16 minutes.

The Philippines and Singapore will get a whopping 5 hours and 17 minutes from start to finish of this once in a lifetime lunar trifecta spectacle. India, on the other hand, will see only parts of the entire show since it begins before the moon peeks over the horizon. But this will not dramatically impact the fun as the phase of total darkness starts just about when the moon rises. This should make for particular outstanding effects.

But why is this event so rare? 

On their own, each of these cosmic events are rare. But for them to happen at the same time, let’s just say we’re super lucky!

Not even taking super moons into consideration, a lunar eclipse during a blue moon hasn’t happened for more than 150 years. After this month’s event, the next time you will get a chance to witness a Blue Blood Moon eclipse will be on Dec 31, 2028 and then on Jan 31, 2037 after that.

Let’s get all the terminology sorted out again.

Super full moon

When a full moon happens during a time the moon is closest the Earth, it is called a super full moon. A super full moon can look up to 14 percent bigger and up to 30 percent brighter.

The best time to look for a super moon is right after sunset when the moon tends to appear even larger to the human eye. This is partly what makes this month’s lunar eclipse so special as it happens in Asia right around that time.

Blood Moon

This isn’t an astronomical term at all, but it’s widely used these days. During an eclipse, the Earth blocks all direct sunlight which normally lights the moon’s surface. Indirect sunlight instead casts on the moon’s surface giving it a reddish yellow or orange glow, hence the nickname.

Blue moon

Ever heard about the term “once in a blue moon”? It means something is rare. Blue moons happen once every two to three years. A blue moon is the second full moon in a month with two full moons. 

How to document the experience

Now that we’ve gotten you all excited, how do you make sure you take great photos and videos of this once in a lifetime event?

First thing’s first: A camera! Your best bet is if you own any good interchangeable lens camera and a super telephoto lens (the higher the number the better). The most widely available super telephoto lenses are usually available in 400mm, 500mm, and 600mm options. To get even further, secure a teleconverter lens. A 2x teleconverter will double your ability to get in closer. 

Normally when you’re shooting a photo of the night sky, you’ll want a long exposure, but not in this case as you’re photographing a ball of light. Shoot as you would during the day. Shoot at ISO 100 or 200, at a wide aperture (around f/11) and with a fast shutter speed (1/250 or 1/125).

Alternatively, if you prefer to shoot with your smartphone — you’re better off with a smartphone that has optical zoom. The iPhone 7 Plus and 8 Plus, iPhone X, and Galaxy Note 8 for example all have 2x optical zoom. But to get even closer, you’ll need a clip-on lens that can mimic what a super telephone lens can do for a DSLR. 

Moment makes plenty of solid lens clips for a variety of smartphone models including a Tele Lens. Aukey has a clip on lens that provides 10x optical zoom. And if you want to get real crazy,  there’s a company called Goliton that makes a clip-on that gets you to 80x.  When using your smartphone, you may want to manually control the exposure by focusing on the moon, then dragging down the exposure controls if it appears too bright.

Regardless of what gear to get, make sure you’re using a tripod for the steadiest shot possible. If you’e using a smartphone, get a JOBY GripTight GorillaPod Stand, or the Manfrotto Stand for Universal Cellphone. To further avoid camera shake, set the camera to time mode.

When can you see it?

In case you won’t get the chance to go out to see it or the sky will be covered by clouds, NASA will live stream the eclipse. NASA coverage will start at 6:30 p.m. on January 31, 2018 (Singapore Time).

If Mother Nature allows for clear skies, here are Super Blue Blood Moon Eclipse time details for January 31.

Singapore and the Philippines:

Duration of Totality: 1 hour and 16 minutes

Eclipse Begins: 7:48 p.m.

Enters Totality: 8:51 p.m.

Reaches Maximum Totality: 9:29 p.m.

Exits Totality: 10:07 p.m.

Eclipse Ends: 11:11 p.m.

India (Mumbai):

Duration of Totality: 1 hour and 10 minutes

Moon rises at 6:27 p.m. (begins before moon is above horizon)

Reaches Maximum Totality: 6:59 p.m.

Exits Totality: 7:37 p.m.

Eclipse Ends: 8:41 p.m.

SEE ALSO: Flagship Smartphone Camera Shootout: Best of 2017

Hands-On

Samsung Galaxy A6 Hands-on: Repackaging the older series

A combination of the Galaxy J7 Pro and Galaxy A8

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The latest midrange phones of Samsung are finally hitting the stores, but they got us a little confused. Since the introduction of the Galaxy A series, it has always been the family of upper-midrange Samsung phones with a premium design. In 2018 though, Samsung is blending the Galaxy A and Galaxy J’s designs; the result is the new Galaxy A6 phones. There’s a regular and a better plus variant, but let’s check out the former first.

This is the Galaxy A6: A phone with a 5.6-inch Super AMOLED display and an 18.5:9 aspect ratio or Infinity Display, as Samsung calls it. The resolution of the display is underwhelming at just 1480 x 720 pixels or 294ppi, but it’s still pretty sharp. The Infinity Display of the Galaxy A6 doesn’t curve to the sides unlike with the Galaxy S9 flagship, yet the bezels are minimal.

The vibrant Super AMOLED display is a common Samsung trait

We have the usual sight in the front including the 16-megapixel f/1.9 selfie camera paired with its own LED flash, earpiece, and sensors. There’s no branding on the face of the phone so when the display is turned off, it looks sleek and clean on the table.

Too bad it doesn’t have the Always On Display feature, even though it has an AMOLED screen.

It’s an Infinity Display but not edge-to-edge

Having the loudspeaker at the side has now been a staple among Samsung midrange phones. It’s a much better placement than on the bottom since you don’t cover or muffle it when viewing in landscape orientation. This is ideal for watching videos or playing mobile games.

Both the loudspeaker and power button are on the right side of the phone

The volume buttons are on the right

Those who dislike making a choice between a microSD card or secondary SIM card will be glad to see the triple card slots of the Galaxy A6. There are two card trays inside the phone: one for the main nano-SIM card and another for the second nano-SIM and the microSD card.

You have to take out two trays to get all your cards inside

The body of the phone is mainly made up of aluminum with U-shaped antennas similar to the Galaxy J7 Pro’s frame. To be honest, the Galaxy A6 can easily be mistaken for the Galaxy J7 Pro if not for the rear camera. Speaking of, the Galaxy A6 has a 16-megapixel f/1.7 rear sensor inside an area shared with the fingerprint sensor. Thankfully, it’s identical to the Galaxy A8’s and Galaxy S9’s placement.

There should be fewer smudges on the camera lens

Going further into the internals of the Galaxy A6, it’s powered by an Exynos 7870 processor — the same silicon the popular Galaxy J7 Prime had back in 2016. The processor is getting old, so we’re hoping Samsung will use a newer one in their next release.

Good thing the bigger Galaxy A6+ has the latest Snapdragon 450, or else it’ll be just an under-powered midrange phone.

The variant we have here has 3GB of memory and 32GB of storage, but there’s also a 4GB/64GB combo available in select markets.

The Samsung Galaxy A6 with the 3GB/32GB configuration retails for PhP 16,490 in the Philippines while in India, it goes from INR 21,990 up to INR 22,990 depending on the variant.

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Apps

Android P: YouTubers React

Android Pineapple or Android Popcorn?

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It’s that time of the year again when we make guesses on what the next version of Android will be called. We saw some clues at the Shoreline Amphitheater and this is what your favorite YouTubers think.

Is it going to be Android Pineapple? Android Popcorn? Android Popsicle? Android Pie? Your guess is as good as ours. Sound off in the comments section what you think it will be called!

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Features

7 tips to stepping up your Instagram game

No amount of editing can fix a bad image

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It all started with sharing memories using a vintage filter. Through the years, Instagram grew and became a platform for self-expression, an avenue for individuals to showcase their lifestyle and creativity. More and more, people are curating their Instagram profiles and here you are, stuck with your messy feed and hoping to step up your Instagram game out of envy.

Fret not! A lot of us feel that way, too. As a creative who lives and breathes Instagram for brands, but doesn’t have the time to work on his own account, I’ve got seven tips to share to help people level up. Here they are:

Think like a brand

Chay likes to take photos of her food, while Kevin is passionate about landscape and aerial photography

Set the direction of how you want your Instagram feed to look. It can be in tune with your personality, hobbies, and interests, or you can transform it into your portfolio of artworks, photographs, or works you proudly share. It can also give people a glimpse of your lifestyle, or the things you’re passionate about. Whatever it is, you decide on what to show on your feed.

Equip yourself with the right camera

Kevin likes to capture his adventures with his favorite toy, the DJI Mavic Pro. MJ, on the other hand, prefers to capture his moments on a good camera phone

Today’s smartphone cameras can sometimes have the same resolution and image quality as a DSLR camera’s, but you shouldn’t fully rely on them. Depending on what kind of photographs you take, there’s a gadget that will help you up your Instagram game. Whether it’s an action cam, drone, or mirrorless camera, there’s a specific shooter out there for your unique needs.

Let your photos tell a story

MJ captured this photo of a girl walking on the streets of Puerto Galera under the scorching sun, while Vincenz photographed a passing taho vendor during a late afternoon in Boracay

Be in touch with your surroundings and capture the moments you find yourself in. Give your followers a glimpse of what’s happening by including people, actions, scenery, and events in your photos. Invoke emotions and make your audience feel like they’re a part of your narrative. A caption would help to support your post, but your photograph should be able to tell a story on its own.

Adjust and tweak for the best results

Chay visited an Instagram-worthy cafe in Shanghai; the raw image is beautiful enough, but to keep her style, she adjusted the brightness and temperature slightly to make it warmer

Our smartphones may not capture the exact moment we see with our own eyes, but we can always accentuate how beautiful our photos are through editing. There are numerous photo-editing apps but remember to not overdo it! Just tweak and adjust these main points: brightness, contrast, alignment, and temperature. Do so, and you’ll look like a pro.

Keep it authentic from the start

MJ upped the vibrancy a little bit to accentuate Mt. Pinatubo’s aquamarine-colored lake, and Dan tweaked the highlights to feature the skyscrapers of Singapore

Good editing is the kind wherein you don’t notice it was even edited. A lot of people overdo their editing to the point of looking artificial. Some can actually pull it off, but others try so hard to copy styles and presets that the image loses its authenticity.

Be consistent and learn how to commit

Dan’s feed consists of his daily grind showcasing urban life and architecture, while Isa’s feed features her travels and OOTDs.

This generation has a lot of commitment issues *ehem* but being uncommitted when you badly want something isn’t going to get you anywhere. Once you’ve decided to up your Instagram game, you have to continue doing so to achieve the feed that you’ve always wanted.  Be consistent in posting a single style to make it cohesive.

Don’t take it too seriously

Isa, Alven, and Michael Josh uploaded their fun and memorable moments on their respective Instagram profiles.

And lastly, enjoy and have fun! Taking it seriously kills your creativity. Get in touch with your inner child and be playful. There’s so much more to life than your Instagram feed.

Curating your feed might seem daunting, and from your perspective, it could be a thing only brands, influencers, and creative people do. You might even downplay yourself because you don’t have talent in photography, but guess what, you don’t need to be a pro to take nice photographs. Your eyes can be trained to see the beauty in everything; you just have to believe that there’s an artist inside you.

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