Shooting the Perseids (shooting stars)

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  • #32895
    Logan Lamar
    Participant

    Hey Everyone!
    Okay, so the Perseid Meteor Shower is coming up the night of August 12-13, and I think it would be cool to maybe try to get some pictures. While I’m not a novice when it comes to photography, I’m a near complete novice when it comes to astrophotography.

    I’ve got a Canon 60D, a 50mm f/1.8, a 10-18 f/4.5-5.6, and an 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6. I also have a remote shutter release (not an intervalometer) and a tripod.

    Has anybody tried this before and/or does anyone have any tips?

    Thanks so much,

    Logan

    #32896
    Ryan Madaris
    Participant

    I’ve done a bit of that type of photography, but I’ve never had much luck. I would suggest setting your camera up with the 10-18mm, (you’ll want a wide angle lens no doubt) using a shutter speed of 1/30. Since you don’t have an intervalometer, that’ll make it kinda hard, because you will have to stay with your camera and take a new photo every time your exposure ends until you get some acceptable photos, which could very well take several hours. Use manual focus, and remember to focus the lens before the sun sets, as it will be extremely hard to focus perfectly once the sun gets dark. I would suggest having some foreground interest in your photos to make it easier to focus, and so the photo won’t be boring. Lastly, ALWAYS shoot in RAW. That will greatly expand your ability to process the photos in Lightroom.

    Good luck! If you get some good photos, I’d absolutely love to see them!

    #32901
    Ryan Madaris
    Participant

    Sorry, I meant use a 30 second shutter speed, not 1/30. 😉

    #32902
    Ezra Morley
    Moderator

    Some excellent tips from @rmadaris!
    I would add that you should check out your remote, and see if it has “Bulb” mode, (where you click the shutter once to open, and a second time to close it.) If it does, then you can set your camera to “continuous shooting” mode, then set your remote to “Bulb” mode, and you end up with a DIY intervalometer! Set your shutter speed to 30″ and use your remote to trigger it. Since the remote is in Bulb mode, it keeps the shutter pressed down, so as soon as the 30″ exposure is over, the camera automatically takes the next shot. 🙂 (Of course, you can test with a much shorter shutter speed.)

    I would also check to be sure that your aperture is open as wide as possible, to let in as much light as you can.

    I hope you have clear skies! The weather around here doesn’t look like it will be very conducive for stargazing… 🙁

    #32905
    Logan Lamar
    Participant

    @buddingphotographer, wow, thanks for that DIY intervalometer hack! It works, and that saves me $30! (not to mention I wouldn’t be able to get one in time before Sunday night…).

    And @rmadaris, thanks for your tips. Are you sure, though, that it would be best to utilize my ultra wide (but rather slow) 10-18mm? The fastest aperture I can get on it is f/4.5 (at 10mm). I can at least get f/3.5 on my 18-200.

    #32908
    Ryan Madaris
    Participant

    @loganlamar, you really want the widest aperture you can get, but I don’t think it will be a huge problem to shoot at f/4.5 as long as you use a long enough shutter speed. 10mm is much better than 18mm for astrophotography because you’re a lot more likely to get a meteor in the shot since you have a wider field of view.

    It wouldn’t hurt to try out the 18-200mm, though!

    #32936
    Ezra Morley
    Moderator

    @buddingphotographer, wow, thanks for that DIY intervalometer hack! It works, and that saves me $30! (not to mention I wouldn’t be able to get one in time before Sunday night…).

    That’s awesome, glad it worked for you! I remember feeling pretty elated when I figured out that hack for myself a while back. Glad it came in handy for others as well! 🙂

    #33013
    John Machen
    Participant

    Hey @loganlamar, did you ever get any cool meteor shots?

    #33014
    Logan Lamar
    Participant

    @hayhand02, @buddingphotographer, @rmadaris, I unfortunately did not get any meteor photos for at least two reasons. The first was that on Sunday night (the night of the shower), I was feeling very exhausted. A few of my siblings had gotten ill, and I was coming down with it too. The thought of getting up at two in the morning didn’t appeal much over a good night’s sleep, so I thought I’d just grab it the next night (a few less meteors, but a decent show still). However, I felt worse and fully came down with the bug on Monday, so I never got outside with my camera. On top of that, our skies were obscured with wildfire smoke from several somewhat nearby forests (within a couple of hundred miles or so), so even if I felt well, I wouldn’t have been able to see much.

    However, I am feeling much better now and the smoke is gone as well, thankfully (and been replaced with regular clouds), but I’m not sure how many meteors are going to be left.

    So… no pics. Better luck with the Leonids in November, perhaps? I might try my hand at capturing an Iridium flare sometime before then (that’s a satellite glinting sunlight off an antennae or some other shiny part), as they are predictable, regular, and I have an app that tells me when they’ll happen (and probably where they are, though I haven’t figured out the app enough yet).

    • This reply was modified 50 years, 7 months ago by .
    #33016
    Ryan Madaris
    Participant

    @loganlamar, that’s a shame! After the Leonids, the Geminids meteor shower is coming up in December, so maybe during one of those. I attempted to get some photos of the shower, but I didn’t get any images either, unfortunately.

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