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Photograhing meteor showers


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The Perseid meteor shower will be visible in these parts this weekend, and I'm thinking of trying my hand at photographing some of the "falling stars". This is new territory for me, so I'm wondering if anyone has any hints. I'll be using a Sony a6000 and Samyang f2 12mm (18 mm equivalent FF) manual focus lens. These are some of the settings that I thought I'd try:

 

focus: infinity

aperture: f2.8

shutter: 15-20 seconds max (to keep stars sharp)

ISO: not sure about this one

 

Will use a sturdy tripod of course.

 

 

 

Edited by John Mitchell
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Your camera settings sound about right but you have to get away from the city lights as far away as possible.

Also, they guy on the TV said the best time is later in the morning around 0430 as opposed to early in the evening. 1 per minute early then 2p/m later on.

I'm more inclined to add the streaks in PS, but that's just me.

Edited by Rico
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28 minutes ago, Rico said:

Your camera settings sound about right but you have to get away from the city lights as far away as possible.

Also, they guy on the TV said the best time is later in the morning around 0430 as apposed to early in the evening. 1 per minute early then 2p/m later on.

I'm more inclined to add the streaks in PS, but that's just me.

 

 

Thanks for the reply. Yes, getting away from the big city lights is important. I have a place in mind and will probably head out around midnight. Don't think I'll make it to 4:30 am, though. It's mainly a nocturnal outing to see the show (hopefully). As you say, it would be easiest to add the meteor streaks later. But that would be cheating ...

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1 hour ago, Michael Ventura said:

Hopefully Gen will chime in, she knows quite a bit about shooting stars and "shooting stars"!

 

After two consecutive days getting up before dawn to photograph sunrise over wetlands, Gen stayed in bed for the meteors... There's always tonight I suppose.

 

You're on the right track John. I would shoot at ISO 5,000 and upwards. Good luck! 

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1 hour ago, gvallee said:

 

After two consecutive days getting up before dawn to photograph sunrise over wetlands, Gen stayed in bed for the meteors... There's always tonight I suppose.

 

You're on the right track John. I would shoot at ISO 5,000 and upwards. Good luck! 

 

Merci beaucoup, Gen. I was thinking around ISO 4000 as a starting point, so I wasn't too far off the mark. Will have to experiment. If I come home with one usable picture, I'll be happy.  Actually, if I can stay awake, I'll be happy. 😴

 

 

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Posted (edited)
17 hours ago, Rico said:

 

Thanks very much. Sadly, my nocturnal adventure turned into a boondoggle -- too many cars, too many people looking for a free show, and too much light. The big city just isn't a good place for watching astro events like meteor showers. After stumbling thru the dark with my camera and tripod, I did manage to find a relatively secluded spot by the shore. However, I saw only one lonely meteor streak through the hazy night sky before heading home to bed.

 

Maybe next time... 🙄

 

 

 

Edited by John Mitchell
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39 minutes ago, John Mitchell said:

 

Thanks very much. Sadly, my nocturnal adventure turned into a boondoggle -- too many cars, too many people looking for a free show, and too much light. The big city just isn't a good place for watching astro events like meteor showers. After stumbling thru the dark with my camera and tripod, I did manage to find a relatively secluded spot by the shore. However, I saw only one lonely meteor streak through the hazy night sky before heading home to bed.

 

Maybe next time... 🙄

 

 

 

 

Sorry to hear that John. It was worth having a go, better than staying in bed. Said she who stayed in bed.

 

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after the fact, but...
a. one would be very lucky to get shooting star in a < 20 sec exposure, no...?
(requires taking 100+ such exposures to get one shooting star...?)
b. very long exposure, e.g., 2 hrs, = curving concentric star trails + multiple shooting stars...?
(much more dramatic but a strong ND filter needed?)
😮 WHAT DO YA BLOODY KNOW ABOUT IT, YE 'AVEN'T DONE IT, HAVE YE??
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19 minutes ago, Mr Standfast said:

There's a couple of shots on the Live News Feed from California.  One looks like the Microsoft screen saver of the 90's.🙂

 

V.difficult.

 

There are now some from the UK and Egypt as well -- not exactly spectacular.

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All of this could be avoided if one adds meteor streaks post editing in Photoshop.

Cheating? Maybe. Fun and creative... possibly.

To each their own.

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Rico said:

All of this could be avoided if one adds meteor streaks post editing in Photoshop.

Cheating? Maybe. Fun and creative... possibly.

To each their own.

 

Adding streaks would probably be fine for a generic "meteor shower" image, but maybe not a good idea for a news / reportage photo of a specific meteor shower like the Perseid. I guess a composite image would be OK for the latter, but I'm not keen enough to sit up all night like the fellow in the video. If you got out to where the earth meets the sky, I bet you could get some really nice views.

 

 

Edited by John Mitchell
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6 hours ago, John Mitchell said:

 

Adding streaks would probably be fine for a generic "meteor shower" image, but maybe not a good idea for a news / reportage photo of a specific meteor shower like the Perseid. I guess a composite image would be OK for the latter, but I'm not keen enough to sit up all night like the fellow in the video. If you got out to where the earth meets the sky, I bet you could get some really nice views.

 

 

No need to sit up all night. Fit an intervalometer to the camera, set it for maximum number of shots at, say, 15-30 secs each, go for a sleep and let the camera do the work. I’ve done this under dark skies in southern France when on holiday.

 

I can remember being in the Old Dungeon Ghyll hotel on a clear August night around 1989. Meteorites were visible continuously. Seems the Perseids is getting much thinner every year, no matter how much magazines and the papers talk it up.

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Never snapped a meteor shower. I did take pictures at a media shower once. They were out in the rain with their cameras and microphones recording some celeb coming out of a building. Can't recall who or where.

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53 minutes ago, Ed Rooney said:

 

Never snapped a meteor shower. I did take pictures at a media shower once. They were out in the rain with their cameras and microphones recording some celeb coming out of a building. Can't recall who or where.

 

I once long ago tried to shoot the Perseid meteor shower from the Dunstable Downs without success. Eventually there were about 5 or 6 of us there. Was fighting a losing battle as the cloud never cleared. I too once shot a media shower, all photographers, long long ago in film days at Hyde Park. I recognised many faces, but the only one I recognised by name was Peter Johns. 

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Fond memories of watching the Perseid at the Connecticut shore as a kid - we'd get to stay up really late, laying on towels with our friends looking up at the sky, our parents sipping.cocktails on the lawn of our friends waterfront cottage. These days, it's rare that I'm by the shore at the right time. Besides, there's too much light pollution for a good shot, so it's easier to just watch and enjoy the show, when I have that rare chance, and enjoy cocktails with my friends on the beach. 

 

When my husband and I were on a day trip from San Diego to the Anza Borrega desert (in California along the US Mexico border) back in 2011, we'd never seen so many stars. We stopped the car and lay on the roof, entranced by the beauty of the vast universe. I couldn't recall how to use the invalvemeter on my D700, but I can still recall how amazing they were. It's funny how we remember the photos we were unable to take so vividly, isn't it? Though no regrets as I didn't even try. It was a memorable day for so many reasons. As we lay there in awe of the universe, all of a sudden, from the corner of my eye, miles away, I saw the headlights of the only other car within sight, speeding toward us. No sirens, but as we suspected from there speed, it was the border patrol, so we made no attempt to leave. When they realized we were just stargazing, they asked where we were from. Turns out one of the two agents was the cousin of a friend of mine from high school. Small world, with the same stars overhead, yet they look so different without all that light pollution. 

 

 

 

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