OK, I decided on a place where to try this out. There is no ideal place anywhere near the Boston area. I have a favorite spot in Rockport, but it's very rough terrain, not so suitable to hang out for hours. I decided to go a little further north into New Hampshire, as ambient light is less than in the Boston urban area. I selected this lake for its proximity, easy access, and decent foreground. See end for details and images of the meeting place.
The peak of this year's Perseids meteor shower is in the wee morning hours of Monday the 12th, hence, the Sunday evening meetup time. Let me know if you would rather meet at midnight / in the early morning hours, which would be fine with me.
Please understand that you won't see meteors unless you stay until 3-4 a.m.! Make sure you can get to work late on Monday or count on being up all night before you sign up. I anticipate leaving the site when it gets light, 2 hour drive back home to arrive ready for breakfast. :-) Alternatively, if there is enough interest, we can just stay overnight and hang out together for breakfast.
This is a great opportunity to shoot star dots, star trails, Milky Way, time lapse and all with some meteors in it.
Plan to bring your sleeping bag and mat, food and drink and perhaps something to read and bug spray, flashlights. Your car will be parked right across and you can doze or crash in your car, too, as your camera is running, somebody will likely be there to watch it.
If you have two cameras, bring them both, one for portable shots of the surrounding and one to just keep shooting the sky with a wide angle to capture anything that might happen facing east, where the meteors will be most visible. Hiking boots are a must, this is uneven terrain.
1-2 cameras, spare batteries!, tripods, intervalometers for star tails and continuous shooting, wide angle lenses, flashlights (head lamps are not permitted!), spare batteries! Please bring a very dim flashlight if you need it to control your camera. Dim means: very little light. This is a dark night and you will blind yourself and others if you constantly use bright lights. A single LED key chain light or such works well, better yet: your cell phone screen, which is bright enough to see the lens dials but doesn't shine all over the place. Best solution: an astronomer's (red) light. Most-best solution: learn to control your camera without looking. :-)
This will be a dark night with a 23% moon setting at about 10 p.m., perfect to view the shower, which has traditionally been one of the best. We may also be able to shoot the Milky Way in both directions. Here are two links for more info:
Massabesic Lake, this is the parking lot right at the lake, where we will hang out. The lot itself is closed after dark, but you can park right across (left of the "A"). This view is north-north:
This is the lake view due east and north during the day:
This is the view due east at night. I am hoping for no clouds, which would make the scenery much darker:
This is the view north-east, which is where the shower will be centered. Note the "W"on the left edge of the photo right in the northern Milky Way, that is the radiant point and it will move up into the sky as the night progresses, should be straight up at 3 a.m.
And this is the southern Milky Way (incl the street):
New England Night Photographers (NENP) is a community of people who love night photography (NPy) -- shooting after the sun goes down and before it rises in the morning. Our photographers shoot in a wide range of locations from the New England mountains to our coastlines, islands,city streets, and abandoned properties in out of the way places. Many members also shoot in exotic places around the world.
In 2013, our name changed from South Shore Night Photographers and Mass Bay Last Minute Meetup, and we expanded our focus to include a members exhibit in a brick and mortar gallery. It was met with great enthusiasm by members, the public and the press. In August, we opened our second annual night photography show at Laura's Center for the Arts in Hanover, Massachusetts with 45 framed pieces by members. It runs through September 21. In the year ahead, watch for new group shoots, workshop offerings, social gatherings, field trips and online competitions judged by professionals. (Please note: while we try to make our locations physically accessible for all, sometimes that is not possible.)
NPy isn't for everyone, but for those of us mesmerized by the world after dark, we discovered it's a magical time to be out with a camera in the company of friends.
To begin finding your way in the dark, we recommend reading Jennifer Wu's book, "Night Sky Photography: A Field Guide for Shooting After Dark." Load it onto your iPad as it makes a great field reference when you are out shooting. It is available on Amazon, here.
NENP on Meetup.com is a place to learn about and participate in our group shoots, then sharing the results with one another in the photo albums attached to each meetup. We also post photography news such as where members are exhibiting work or places where you can submit photos in competitions.
Night photo shoots can be difficult -- from needing to be aware of the terrain to watching out for people who would do you harm -- and that's why we encourage shooting with groups or photo partners.
Thank you for helping NENP keep fine art Npy alive in New England. Together we are sure to creatively find our way in the dark.
Kate Hannon, Founder & Co-Organizer
Linda Szabo, Co-Organizer
P.S. If you don't already belong to them, there are other night meetup groups in New England that still organize group shoots. Each group has its own distinct personality, and you'll find they go to different locations at different times and dates. Please feel free to join up and go on some of their shoots, too. It's all good.