Aug 12, 2012

Perseid Meteor Shower

So, last night around midnight, the Perseus Constellation rose in the northeast sky. After which a shower of meteors apparently ensued, but my view was blocked by cloud cover (Read up on the Perseid Meteor shower here). I did have fun setting up for the show and I haven't ever tried to capture the stars before. I'd like to give it another shot sometime; most likely tonight.

Above: NOT a meteor, just a "big ol' jet airliner".

I set up with my 24mm prime lens. A relatively quick and wide angle lens works best. My 24mm is an f/2.8 which is not the fastest, but not all that slow either (better than a f/3.5). You want to use a wide angle lens because it will let you capture the largest amount of sky. I focused to infinity (...and beyond!). I read that a simple calculation can be used to establish shutter speed for shooting... shooting stars: 600 ÷ focal length = exposure time. Since I was using a 24mm lens the math was simple: 600 ÷ 24 = 25 seconds. Since you can never tell when meteors will go streaking by you pretty much play it by luck at this point. Just keep on exposing. So, I set my camera's intervalometer to expose every minute. So every 60 seconds the shutter in my camera would open for 25 seconds.

It was midnight when I set up with the tripod on the back porch and I was exhausted so I went to bed. I tried to sleep but I just didn't feel right about leaving my camera outside all night. Especially since some little bastards had broken into my jeep a few weeks ago. Though the weather radar showed only light cloud cover and no rain in the forecast I just tossed and turned worrying about my DSLR. So after about an hour and a half I went out to look at the sky: cloudy. So I pulled my camera inside and sauntered back to bed.

Above: This is the best I could come up with.

This morning I processed the 105 photos I captured. Some of them are so-so, and I included them in this blog post, but the balance of them are just shots of wispy clouds obscuring what was probably a pretty amazing sight. In the image above you'll see a light streak which is NOT a meteor; it's an airplane. Doh! I created a very short time lapse video displaying the 105 images at a rate of 10 frames per second. Kind of neat, but not at all what I had hoped for. Better luck next time! Speaking of next time: Meteor Shower Calender.

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