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Shoot the 'shooting stars' - Perseid Meteor Shower

  • Aug 11, 2013 · 10:00 PM
  • Eric's house, then carpool to the site. Drive approx. 12.3 mi north on Williamson Valley turn left on Whispering Canyons, drive

Here is a tutorial by David Kingham, who created one of the most spectacular meteor photos I've ever seen.  

http://www.davidkinghamphotography.com/blog/2013/7/photograph-the-2013-perseids-meteor-shower


Bring: Folding Chair, Snacks/water, Cable or remote release, extra batteries if you have them (for those who stay till the wee hours), flashlight, warm clothes if it gets chilly, intervalometer if you have one, camera manual if you're unfamiliar with settings. fast lens (wide aperture).

This will be a great opportunity to practice our night shooting and possibly get some great shots of a (several or many) meteors.
The Perseids meteor shower is a prolific meteor shower that should produce 50 to 100 (or possibly even more) meteors per hour in and around its peak on August 12, 2013.

As the meteoroids from the Comet Swift-Tuttle (109P/Swift-Tuttle) approach Earth, they become meteors when they enter Earth’s atmosphere. Commonly, meteors are also called shooting stars or falling stars, but they are “stars” in name only.

When entering Earth’s atmosphere, the meteors from Perseids will be traveling at extremely high rates of speed while on their parallel trajectory with Earth.

Although most are only the size of a grain of sand, when they hit the Earth the impact will cause them to disintegrate, which will produce a visible stream (or train) across the sky that we can see with the naked eye.

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  • Larry M.

    Another night of shooting these meteors. Shooting at a higher ISO is much better since the earth is moving. Last night at midnight I set up my camera to shoot all night. I figured the battery would stop first. I ended up with 983 shots. The 32GB card filled up first. I had a little left on the battery which ran for 4 1/2 hrs before the card filled up. I shot everything at 6400 ISO, f/3.2, 24mm, 3800 Kelvin, and 15 second shots. Here is what I learned.

    Use a 64GB card.

    The best meteors - right above the horizon. Bring 2 cameras.

    Next time I will shoot at 10 seconds instead of 15. My shots were a little overexposed which I fixed in Lightroom. Out of 983 shots, I got 9 meteor showers and only 3 were worth showing. Airplanes can resemble meteors. You can tell it's an airplane if you have what looks like a meteor, but it moves in your next 3-4 shots in a perfect order. The meteor should only be in one shot.

    August 13, 2013

    • Eric A.

      I did the same thing last night. Took 1113 photos before the battery stopped. Ended up deleting about 1085 of them. I took the ones that I was pretty certain had meteors (not airplanes), and composited them according to a tutorial by David Kingham. I'll post the shot on our site. It's pretty neat to see lots of meteors in one photo. Took a lot of patience in PS (lots of layers, layer masks, free transforming etc.)

      August 13, 2013

    • Larry M.

      Those layers had to take some time, but after seeing the end result, it is worth it. Great editing.

      August 13, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    These shots are amazing! Great pics everyone!!

    August 12, 2013

  • Sandy D.

    Great shots! Wow!

    August 12, 2013

  • Stefanie

    Kudos to you guys for staying out late and getting some great shots!

    August 12, 2013

  • Larry M.

    Well, we did it. Stayed up until about 3:00 am in the morning. There were not as many showers as we might have wanted. Also, they could be anywhere in the sky at a particular time. You had to be lucky to catch one. There were some big ones, don't know if others got them or not.

    All my shots were done with a 24mm lens, f3.2, ISO 800, Kelvin 3900, and shot at either 30 seconds or 45 seconds. Using a intervalometer, I set my camera to shoot for 30-45 seconds, wait 1 second, then do it again and again.

    Lessons learned. Bring warm clothes, you need a wide angle lens (should have used a 14mm instead), having a intervalometer is invaluable.

    All in all, it was a good experience and we all had fun (I think). Thanks Eric and Gary for setting this up. Maybe in Nov. it might be better.

    August 12, 2013

    • Eric A.

      Enjoyed the evening (and into the wee hours) with everyone. Though the meteor shower was a bit disappointing, there were a number of really great meteors, just too bad they weren't in front of our lenses! I now think the higher ISO theory maybe holds some water, cause I know I was shooting when a couple of meteors went by, but at first glance I didn't see any signs of them in the preview screen. I'll have to get them onto the computer to see if I can 'tweek' something out of some of the shots.

      August 12, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      Yup, looks like high ISO is key because you have to have a "fast" enough shutter to keep the stars from moving. Really long shutter speeds produce noise (even at ISO 100) so noise reduction is necessary either way.

      August 12, 2013

  • Eric A.

    Just stepped outside and saw two great meteors in less than 1 minute.

    August 11, 2013

  • Gary G.

    I had to go to map quest to get a good map

    August 11, 2013

    • Eric A.

      Call if you need help w/ directions.

      August 11, 2013

  • Eric A.

    Ok everybody. Remember to charge your battery. Bring a spare if you have one. Also, make sure your memory card is empty, and bring a spare if you've got 'em. You'll be taking lots of shots tonight (and into the wee hours possibly).

    August 11, 2013

    • Larry M.

      Just got done charging 3 batteries. I have a 128gb, a 64gb, three 32gb, and three 16gb cards. That should be enough - lol. If for some reason others need more memory, I'll have it.

      August 11, 2013

    • Larry M.

      We're meeting at Eric's House at 10:00pm. Don't worry about setting up equipment. I don't think any of us have shot this kind of pictures before. Should be interesting. I plan on testing out different ISO's, different lenses, and different settings as we go. Like you, I have been playing with my Intervalometer but this will be the first time I have actually used it.

      1 · August 11, 2013

  • Gary G.

    Make sure you read your instruction manual about interval timing. I would guess most newer camera's have that feature. I had to read up on how to use it. It works great. Set the interval for 30 seconds and it will shoot 30 second exposures all night long. Make sure you have it for 30 seconds and not 1/30 of a second. Or you'll get hundreds of pure black pictures ( like I did ). But you can practice during the day, just shorter exposures. Bring your manuals just in case.

    August 10, 2013

    • Larry M.

      The newer Canon's don't have a built in one, that I know of. I know that Christine and myself each have an external one. I have been practicing with it. It'll be the first time to use it.

      August 11, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    I'm going to see if the wife will allow me to play this late.

    August 10, 2013

    • Eric A.

      Would it help if I wrote you a note? ;)

      August 10, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      She said yes. Not to the note...

      August 10, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    This sounds like just what I need to dust off my camera and start taking real photos again. I'm excited!

    August 5, 2013

  • Larry M.

    Great location, I was just out that way last week on a 4x4 excursion. We'll have to figure out a good place to meetup (like the baptist church on 89 - first round-about) and maybe we can car pool it out there depending on how many go.

    August 2, 2013

    • Eric A.

      Have updated the location to meet at my house, then carpool to the site

      August 2, 2013

    • Eric A.

      I put my address in the meet-up notification.

      August 3, 2013

  • Larry M.

    I have posted a MS Word file on shooting comets. It can be located under the tab "More" and then under "files".

    July 31, 2013

  • Stefanie

    Eric I made you an event organizer and host

    July 30, 2013

  • Stefanie

    would love to but too late on a school night for me

    July 30, 2013

  • Larry M.

    Can't wait to experiment with this so we can do this again in Nov. If anyone else wants to come and hasn't done this before, I have a short "how to" on shooting meteors. You will need a tripod and a remote release. Usually a wide angle lens is used.

    1 · July 30, 2013

  • Eric A.

    Location TBD. I'd like to find a place that has dark skies and something of interest to have in the foreground.

    July 30, 2013

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