Night photography during the Perseid Meteor Shower
The arrival of the Perseid Meteor Shower brings an opportunity to not only sit back, relax, and enjoy the sites of the night sky, but to take some impressive photos as well.
Between midnight and 3am I shot a series of still images until cloud cover eventually blurred the entire Northeastern sky. I loaded a few of the shots in to a video editor and stitched together this brief video:
It's not too late to get out and watch or capture your own memories. After dark this evening get as far from city lights as you can and look up, particularily to the Northeast. I did see some amazing streaks to the Northwest as well. Lay on the ground on a blanket, or use the back of a lawn chair to cradle your neck for some outstanding viewing. The best viewing time for tonight is from 3am to dawn in our area.
If you'd like to capture some images a sturdy tripod is a must. It's helpful to use a remote trigger and set your camera for a 30 second exposure. Some cameras have a built in intervalometer that automate taking pictures for you if you are interested in using the frames for a video or layering them in photoshop to multiply the streaking effect of the meteors.
Be sure to read the manual and set up your camera at home to avoid the frustration of fumbling around in the dark with unfamilar settings.
The settings I used last night were an ISO between 3200 and 5000. Most people use a 1.8 or 2.8 aperature wide angle lens. The best I had was a 24mm lens with the minimum f-stop of 3.5 so that is what I used. I shot a 30 second exposure with a break of 34 seconds, followed by another shot, etc.
Many pros shoot in the RAW format, I used a large JPEG setting and spent less time today messing with my photos. I give up total control for some speed and ease of handling.
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