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  1. #1
    light wait photophorous's Avatar
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    Meteor Shower this weekend

    Just read this article and thought, "hey, I need an excuse to get up at 4am on Sunday." Does anyone have any tips for photographing a meteor shower? I'm thinking it will involve lots of trial and error with shutter speeds in the 1-10 second range. Anyone?

    Thanks,
    Paul

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/space/200611...tedthisweekend

  2. #2
    Viewfinder and Off-Topic Co-Mod walterick's Avatar
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    Re: Meteor Shower this weekend

    Hey Paul,

    I haven't had success in shooting a meteor shower yet. I haven't tried that often though.

    From what I know of astrophotography, your shutter speed doesn't matter. It's your aperature and film speed that count. You'll want to shoot wide open with at least iso 400. Depending on the hourly rate of the storm, your shutter will vary depending on how many meteors fly through your viewfinder while your shutter's open. Fireballs will be more likely to show up on film than regular meteors will. Because you may be looking at 5-10 minute exposures, or more, you may be better served using a film camera with a bulb setting to save the batteries in your digi. Or, have both out and running to increase your chances of capturing a meteor. From what I understand of long digital exposures, noise can be a problem. You may want to experiment ahead of time. Ask Speed about long exposures with a DSLR, I know he has lots of experience in that department.

    Hmm, now that I've typed all this, I'm thinking I may go out and try it too

    Rick
    Walter Rick Long
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  3. #3
    light wait photophorous's Avatar
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    Re: Meteor Shower this weekend

    Thanks for the tips, Rick. I figured I could leave the shutter open longer, but I hadn't thought of leaving it open that long. And I wouldn't have thought to open the lens all the way either. I'm guessing noise will be a problem with my D70, and if I use the long exposure noise reduction, my batteries (and patience) might be a problem too. Maybe I'll use my Yashica-Mat with some Tri-X.

    This all depends on whether or not I can actually get out of bed and find a place far enough from the city lights to even see anything. But any tips I get now will surely come in usefull at some point.

    Paul

  4. #4
    Panarus biarmicus Moderator (Sports) SmartWombat's Avatar
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    Re: Meteor Shower this weekend

    Quote Originally Posted by photophorous
    Does anyone have any tips for photographing a meteor shower? I'm thinking it will involve lots of trial and error with shutter speeds in the 1-10 second range.
    This article shows a 4 hour exposure.
    http://www.earthsky.org/radioshows/leonid-meteor-shower
    PAul

    Scroll down to the Sports Forum and post your sports pictures !

  5. #5
    light wait photophorous's Avatar
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    Re: Meteor Shower this weekend

    Quote Originally Posted by SmartWombat
    This article shows a 4 hour exposure.
    http://www.earthsky.org/radioshows/leonid-meteor-shower
    Whoa. Cool article and photo. Wish I had a fisheye.

  6. #6
    Seasoned Amateur WesternGuy's Avatar
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    Post Re: Meteor Shower - tips for shooting with camera

    One bit of tips on shooting meteor showers. HTH

    WesternGuy

    http://www.space.com/scienceastronom...ographing.html

  7. #7
    Senior Shooter Greg McCary's Avatar
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    Re: Meteor Shower this weekend

    What lens would you use? I have a 50mm, 80-200mm amd a 28-80mm. And which direction do I point the camera?
    Greg
    I am like Barney Fife, I have a gun but Andy makes me keep the bullet in my pocket..

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  8. #8
    light wait photophorous's Avatar
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    Re: Meteor Shower this weekend

    Quote Originally Posted by Greg McCary
    What lens would you use? I have a 50mm, 80-200mm amd a 28-80mm.
    Greg
    The articles I've read seem to suggest wide angle. The wider it is the more likely you'll catch something in the frame. I also read one article that said using faster film 800-1600 is suggested...but that's probably not true with digital due to noise.

    Paul

  9. #9
    Senior Shooter Greg McCary's Avatar
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    Re: Meteor Shower this weekend

    I am film and have an older camera that I could probably set outside on a tripod and leave for awhile. I also have a shutter release that will lock. I have a 28mm lens too. I think that I will go with maybe a different lens on different nights. I got a bunch of 400 film I wonder would that be ok? I wonder what B&W film would do???
    I am like Barney Fife, I have a gun but Andy makes me keep the bullet in my pocket..

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  10. #10
    Hardcore...Nikon Speed's Avatar
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    Talking Btdt

    Which stands for Been There, Done That!

    I find that with a 50mm lens, a 30 second exposure is about the maximum that you want, or star trails start to get objectionable (for me). With a 28mm lens, you can go about 60 seconds.

    Wider is better - to a point. Don't use your fisheye lens! ;-)
    And open it up. More light is better. Manually focus on a bright star, or set your focus to infinity. I find my lens are usually sharpest for star shots just a hair before the infinity setting.

    Also, as Rick mentioned, you'll want to use ISO 400 or a 400 speed film.

    I use SkyTonight (formerly SkyandTelescope) for my astro updates.

    http://skytonight.com/observing/home/4663951.html

    Bundle up, sit back, or lay back and enjoy the show. Having company will definitely make the evening more enjoyable. The Mrs. is joining me, as is one of my friends, his girlfriend, and another guy he knows. We are going to have a regular meteor watching party.
    Nikon Samurai # 1


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  11. #11
    Senior Shooter Greg McCary's Avatar
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    Re: Meteor Shower this weekend

    Thanks, and Thanks again. I intend to give it a try.....
    Greg
    I am like Barney Fife, I have a gun but Andy makes me keep the bullet in my pocket..

    Sony a99/a7R

  12. #12
    Viewfinder and Off-Topic Co-Mod walterick's Avatar
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    Re: Meteor Shower this weekend

    Now this is getting me excited. I may have to drive up to Flagstaff and take in some dark skies that night, weather permitting.
    Walter Rick Long
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  13. #13
    Senior Shooter Greg McCary's Avatar
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    Re: Meteor Shower this weekend

    Weather here is going to be great. A local college has a small observatory very near. I may go there. Those guys will tell me where to look I'm sure...
    Greg
    I am like Barney Fife, I have a gun but Andy makes me keep the bullet in my pocket..

    Sony a99/a7R

  14. #14
    Senior Member cyberlord's Avatar
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    Re: Meteor Shower this weekend

    Remember, this will only be visable from NE USA and Europe.

    Don't want any of you to drive hundreds of miles to a dark location to be disappointed.

    Tim
    My blog - Photography Rulez


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  15. #15
    Senior Shooter Greg McCary's Avatar
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    Re: Meteor Shower this weekend

    So Georgia is a no go??????
    I am like Barney Fife, I have a gun but Andy makes me keep the bullet in my pocket..

    Sony a99/a7R

  16. #16
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    Re: Meteor Shower this weekend

    Back in 02' was the only time in our married life that my wife bundled up and consented to sit on a reclining beach chair and sort of dared me about the worth of sitting in our backyard(in Queens NY) and staring up for what must have seemed like forever.
    Well, I won that one, we were blessed with a great show,many streamers per minute.
    She got into oohing and ahhhing and counting each one.
    We were both like 12 year olds laughing at one another's exclamations of delight.
    If you get good shots,all the better,if you don't,make sure some friends join you,you'll have an awe inspiring time. Steve B.

  17. #17
    light wait photophorous's Avatar
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    Re: Meteor Shower this weekend

    Quote Originally Posted by Greg McCary
    So Georgia is a no go??????
    Apperently the strongest showing (in the US) will be in the NE...or at least in the East, but it will be visible all over the US. You never know how good it will be until it happens. So, it is possible that you will see next to nothing. It's also possible that it will be great.

    Paul

  18. #18
    Viewfinder and Off-Topic Co-Mod walterick's Avatar
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    Re: Meteor Shower this weekend

    Tweaked my back this morning and won't be able to go out tonight. I hope some takes a picture of a meteor for me
    Walter Rick Long
    Nikon Samurai, Mamiya Master, Velvia Bandit


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  19. #19
    Panarus biarmicus Moderator (Sports) SmartWombat's Avatar
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    Re: Meteor Shower this weekend

    Cloudy so far, sorry.
    PAul

    Scroll down to the Sports Forum and post your sports pictures !

  20. #20
    light wait photophorous's Avatar
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    Re: Meteor Shower this weekend

    Quote Originally Posted by walterick
    Tweaked my back this morning and won't be able to go out tonight. I hope some takes a picture of a meteor for me
    That sucks, dude. My back gives me a lot of trouble too, so I know how it goes. It's clear here, but we might be too far west to get a good show. I'll let you know how it goes.

    Paul

  21. #21
    Senior Shooter Greg McCary's Avatar
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    Re: Meteor Shower this weekend

    Quote Originally Posted by walterick
    Tweaked my back this morning and won't be able to go out tonight. I hope some takes a picture of a meteor for me
    I know about the back. I just had surgery to remove a lower disk that had already came out. Talk about pain. I can't drive until at least DEC.6. Parts of my left foot and leg are numb. I will have to try the meteor pictures in the back yard...
    Greg
    I am like Barney Fife, I have a gun but Andy makes me keep the bullet in my pocket..

    Sony a99/a7R

  22. #22
    Senior Shooter Greg McCary's Avatar
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    Re: Meteor Shower this weekend

    The shower was a bust here in Georgia. I did see one huge one around 11:45 but missed it. I might have gotten a Delta heading East, I'll see. I did try some Star trails though. Good Night from Georgia.
    Greg
    I am like Barney Fife, I have a gun but Andy makes me keep the bullet in my pocket..

    Sony a99/a7R

  23. #23
    light wait photophorous's Avatar
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    Re: Meteor Shower this weekend

    It wasn't very good in Austin either. We only saw 3 in an hour, and only one was really good. I didn't even set up my camera, because it was too bright where we were to catch anything at that rate. Oh well. Next time.

    Paul

  24. #24
    Hardcore...Nikon Speed's Avatar
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    Smile This article shows a 4 [I]hour [/I]exposure

    Quote Originally Posted by SmartWombat
    This article shows a 4 hour exposure.
    http://www.earthsky.org/radioshows/leonid-meteor-shower

    Yes, but they were tracking the stars. Setting the camera on a tripod, you'll get long streaks of light over four hours.

    If you have a clock drive (ie, telescope drive) you can make an image like that. Also, depending on the meteor shower's radiant, you can make star trails and the meteors will run in a different direction than the star trails. But the majority of meteors hit the atmosphere from east to west, the same direction the star trails will be.

    I'm not trying to be contensous, just pointing that four hour exposures aren't for the majority of photographers.
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  25. #25
    Hardcore...Nikon Speed's Avatar
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    Cool It Was Hit And Miss In North Carolina

    It was a solid overcast practically all day, then the weather cleared as the sun went down. We had a few patchy clouds during the evening, but it wasn't bad.

    I set the D200 on a tripod with the 28-70mm attached (set at 28mm), put it on manual focus, and selected manual exposure. 30 seconds @ f 2.8, ISO 400. Then I selected the interval timer, and set it to take an exposure every minute. I shot 73 frames and didn't catch a single meteor!

    I did see several however. They were mostly dim, being 3rd and 4th magnitude, and they were long, cutting across 20 to 30 degrees of the sky. They just appeared north and south of my camera's field of view.

    Brian and I did have fun with our Celestron C-8's though. We looked at the Andromeda Galaxy, M42, the Pliedes, and several star clusters and double stars. The wife joined us for most of it, and we have a very pleasant evening watching the stars.

    Here are three views of one of the shots I took Saturday night. The first one is the Pliedes and Taurus (The Bull) as is, out of the camera. The second one is a crop of Taurus showing the star trails. This was a 30 second exposure with the lens at 28mm (42mm equivalent on a Nikon digital). Final shot is the same as the first, only with Auto Levels applied. With this shot you can see how much data the camera captured!
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Meteor Shower this weekend-dsc_5315pr.jpg   Meteor Shower this weekend-dsc_5315prcrop.jpg   Meteor Shower this weekend-dsc_5315prautolevels.jpg  
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