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Super Contributor
Posts: 223
Registered: ‎05-19-2016

Tips for taking photos of meteor shower?

Hello:

 

I am thinking of trying to take pictures for the Perseid Meteor Shower.

I have never done this before so I am reading tips online, but I thought I would ask if you all have any suggestions.

I have a tripod, cable release, only one battery, 2 memory cards in camera, 17-55mm lens, 7d mark ii, bulb function, focus to infinity.

I shouldn't have any neighbor's lighting as I am back up against woods and my back yard is far enough away from neighboring houses.

It will be trial and error, but I want to learn how to do it.

VIP
Posts: 11,122
Registered: ‎08-13-2015

Re: Tips for taking photos of meteor shower?

Hello,

 

I suppose one could simply take photos of the stars in the night sky, just as you normally would.  Do a search for " astrophotography " on these forums, and on the web. 

 

It works best with a wide angle lens, one with an equivalent focal length of 20mm, or less.  I have begun experimenting with a Rokinon 14mm lens on my full frame EOS 6D.  Wide lenses allow you to capture longer exposures without star trails.

 

http://www.cnn.com/2016/08/10/health/perseid-meteor-shower-2016-irpt/index.html

 

According to the above article, the peak time for meteor activity will be the morning of August 12 between midnight and sunrise.

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"Doctor told me to get out and walk, so I bought a Canon."
VIP
Posts: 13,574
Registered: ‎12-07-2012

Re: Tips for taking photos of meteor shower?

Long exposure and hope for the best!  Smiley Happy High ISOs and open apertures.

The meteors will seem to originate from the constellation Perseus so I would aim the tripod mounted camera there.  You need to watch how long your exposures are so you don't get star trails on everything.  It depends on you focal length how long an exposure can be.

 

EB
EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and several lenses!
VIP
Posts: 11,122
Registered: ‎08-13-2015

Re: Tips for taking photos of meteor shower?


@ebiggs1 wrote:

Long exposure and hope for the best!  Smiley Happy High ISOs and open apertures.

The meteors will seem to originate from the constellation Perseus so I would aim the tripod mounted camera there.  You need to watch how long your exposures are so you don't get star trails on everything.  It depends on you focal length how long an exposure can be.

 


What is a Perseus?  There is a great freeware application called STELLARIUM, which is a virtual planetarium.  I use it.  It's great.

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"Doctor told me to get out and walk, so I bought a Canon."
VIP
Posts: 13,574
Registered: ‎12-07-2012

Re: Tips for taking photos of meteor shower?

Perseus is one of the larger northern constellations. The Perseus constellation lies in the northern sky, next to Andromeda.

Knowing constellations and their location might be a good thing if you want to do sky photography. Don't you think? Smiley Indifferent

EB
EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and several lenses!
Super Contributor
Posts: 223
Registered: ‎05-19-2016

Re: Tips for taking photos of meteor shower?

I'll have to download it.

I download Starglobe, it's free.

It's pretty cool.....

VIP
Posts: 11,122
Registered: ‎08-13-2015

Re: Tips for taking photos of meteor shower?


@ilzho wrote:

I'll have to download it.

I download Starglobe, it's free.

It's pretty cool.....


Stellarium is really quite sophisticated.  It even has a "red eye" mode for night viewing.

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"Doctor told me to get out and walk, so I bought a Canon."
Super Contributor
Posts: 223
Registered: ‎05-19-2016

Re: Tips for taking photos of meteor shower?

I'll check it out, starglobe has red eye too, and shows where the satellites are, etc....

Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 3,853
Registered: ‎06-11-2013

Re: Tips for taking photos of meteor shower?

The Perseids come out of the North by Northeast (NNE).  You'll need a clear view to that part of the sky.

 

The moon will be out, so I suggest you put your lens in MANUAL FOCUS mode (never use auto-focus for stars), point the camera at the moon, switch to live-view mode, zoom in to the 10x size, and then carefully refine the focus.  Once focused, don't touch the focus ring.

 

Now rotate the camera tripod back so that it faces NNE.

 

Put the camera in continuous shooting mode.  Set the shutter speed to 30 seconds.

 

Set the zoom down to the 17mm end of the range.  You can use your lowest f-stop (I think for your lens that's f/2.8) and set the ISO to about ISO 800 (you might need to bump it up to ISO 1600).  Take some test shots.  Magnify these when inspecting the test shots to make sure focus is good (the rule is that if ANYTHING in the sky is in tack-sharp focus, then EVERYTHING in the sky is in tack-sharp focus.  Just be warned that you can't trust that the "infinity" mark on the lens is the correct position and you'll kick yourself if you end up with a card full of mushy stars once you finish shooting.  A few minutes to verify perfect focus pays off.

 

With the camera in "continuous" shooting mode (set to a 30-second time) you can use your wired cable-release to start shooting.  Press the shutter button and slide the lock switch to "lock" the shutter button down.  The camera will continue to take another shot every 30 seconds and just keep going.

 

This will drain the battery faster than usual (you're basically working the sensor 100% of the time) ... so if you have a spare battery it would be a good idea to take it along.

 

The most important part... have fun!

 

Post your results!

Tim Campbell
5D III, 5D IV, 60Da
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