Meteor showers are a thing of beauty. They are an ideal photography subject, but unfortunately, they are somewhat shy. The biggest issue is that they fly across the sky in a flash, and that makes it difficult to photograph them. Fortunately, there are benefits to this as well. A little preparation goes a long way and ensures that you have the best possible chance to create the most beautiful picture.
The first thing any photographer needs to do is visit the EarthSky.org calendar to find where the next opportunity for a great meteor shower photo might be. Apart from that, they need to bring a tripod, some warm clothes, and coffee – lots of coffee.
Apart from these tricks, here are 10 more you need to try in order to capture the perfect image:
1. Finding the Ideal Spot
Living in a large city with a lot of city lights negatively affects the chance of finding the right position for taking an excellent meteor image. Due to the use of long exposures, environmental light is going to seep in and affect the image. The best idea is to go out of the city and into the country where there are no streetlights or neon hues. Bringing a flashlight for navigating the dark countryside is a must.
2. Bring Enough Coffee
Coffee is essential, so mentioning it twice makes sense. Since the best time for creating meteor images starts around midnight, be sure to bring the right amount of coffee. Additionally, the whole event gets better as the night goes on so staying up longer is crucial.
3. Don’t Forget the Cable Release
When it comes to long exposures, having a tripod is a must, but people need to think about a good cable release as well. Not having a finger placed on the camera’s shutter button prevents blurry pictures. This is especially true if the tripod that is being used is not particularly sturdy. Using the cameras self-timer is also good, but nothing beats a good cable release.
4. Adding Elements to the Frame
When photographing the night sky, it is always a good idea to put something else into the picture. Photographing only the sky gives images of light streaks, but not much else. A mountain might make taking the picture more difficult, but worth it. Using RAW capture is a great idea as well due to the ability to tweak the white balance later on.
5. Using Wide Lenses
Since the bright lights do not stay in front of the lens for long, every shot counts. Because of this, it is imperative to keep the aperture open wide. Also, having a wider lens helps with capturing them since they appear so sporadically.
6. Choosing the Proper ISO
With the help of digital cameras finding the right ISO is easier than ever. There is some trial and error involved, but eventually, the correct ISO can be set up. Using the dark frame technique also helps.
7. Set the Correct Exposure Time
A 30-second exposure is a great place to start as modern cameras still have manageable noise at that point. This is also going to stop the stars from becoming streaks of light as the planet rotates.
8. Keep the Battery Charged
When the shutter times are as long as this, one charge gives fewer shots than usual. The lower temperature in the countryside also drains the battery faster, and so does shooting in the winter.
9. Point the Camera Correctly
The direction of meteor paths varies and so shooting from one spot might be ideal during one meteor shower, but not as great during the next one. Using Google to determine this is a great idea.
10. Be Patient
Since meteors are erratic, just like lightning, people need to keep firing away at the night sky and eventually, the right image is going to be captured. This is what makes the whole ordeal even more interesting.
As her name suggests, Jenna Small stands little over 4ft tall. Being petite and blonde, many often underestimate her talent. As a result, she spent her entire life working twice as hard to prove that she was the best. Now an established geologist, she does not beat around the bush when it comes to her work. Her research has been published and used in schools throughout the region. She often states that her most significant accomplishment was choosing to better herself through a solid education. When she is not busy unearthing new findings, she volunteers as a motivational speaker to girls who have been victims of bullying, discrimination, or harassment.