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Old Nov 18, 2002, 11:15 AM   #1
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Default Meteor Shower Help

Anyone have general suggestions for taking pictures of the upcoming meteor shower? From what I gather:


1) Tripod
2) Long exposure
3) Focus @ infinity
4) Aperture set @ fastest (about f/2 or f/2 .8)



Any other tips besides good weather and darkness?
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Old Nov 18, 2002, 12:19 PM   #2
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Start the shutter from a remote control or timer setting. With a long exposure you can take blurred pictures by depressing shutter manual. If your camera has movie capability, try taking one exposure with the movie function.
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Old Nov 18, 2002, 12:32 PM   #3
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It might be tricky to get a good exposure with the full moon. Steer clear of that or it will wash out your shot. Find the darkest location you can, and hope for something to appear in the darkest part of the sky. (Of course if you have a really LONG lens, you apparently can watch these things actually hit the moon. That would make for some good shots!)

To maximize your chances of catching something, you probably want to go as wide angle as you can, at least to start. Make sure you are set up to review images at the site so that you can make adjustments as you go. Go for the longest exposure that you can without getting too much noise. Depending on how bright the show is, you may have to adjust the the F stop. Stopping down will give you a longer exposure (and increase your chances of catching something good), but make the meteorites dimmer.

Use a remote shutter release, or the timer, and put the camera on a tripod. These long exposures are very prone to shake blur.

Of course the great thing about digital is that you have immediate feedback. Either bring a laptop to download to, or zoom in on the camera LCD to see how the images are coming out. Things to look for include focus, noise level, general exposure characteristics, and of course whether or not you are getting anything.

Finally, you will find that the images of the dark sky are very small. The dark sky often compresses REALLY well, so go ahead and snap away. Take hundreds of pictures and later you can decide to keep just a few.

A couple of other hints. When you get outside to your dark location spend 15 minutes or so just looking at the sky. It can take that long for your eyes to adjust. If you are going to take pictures of the moon, be careful. It is quite bright. It can definitely ruin your night vision. In addition, looking at your LCD screen or laptop (as I recommended earlier - silly me) also mess up your night vision. Make sure that you review your pictures in batches so that you minimize the time it takes for your eyes to recover. Red light is less invasive to your night vision, so if you have some red film to place over your laptop, camera LCD or flashlights, it can really help your eyes in adjusting.

Be sure to post your results!

Good luck.

-roger
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Old Nov 18, 2002, 1:52 PM   #4
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Thank you for the tips! I'm going to go out tonight (before the real fun begins) and do some test shots of some stars just to get the feel for exposure time, etc. I'm wondering if the quality of the digital video will be just as good as a picture? I'll give a couple of things a try. If the rate is really really high, I'm guessing the burst mode may come in handy. I'll have to play around and see what happens. Good luck and stay warm!
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Old Nov 19, 2002, 4:49 AM   #5
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aaarrrggghhh

I saw two good meteors in five minutes. Moon was too bright. My camera couldn't handle the night conditions. It was cold!

At least I tried.
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Old Nov 19, 2002, 7:18 AM   #6
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Well, I took a lot of pictures and a few movies. I'll post the results...maybe I got lucky and caught a meteor on film. Worst case...I got some good shots of Orion. Some deer crept up on us in the early morning too. Couldn't see them but heard them grunting and snorting.
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Old Nov 19, 2002, 7:49 AM   #7
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The full moon was a killer. I live in the desert and we drove 20 miles from the city and it was still to bright. Better luck for us next time.
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Old Nov 19, 2002, 11:59 AM   #8
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First remove the bloody clouds or move to a nicer climate.
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