R E S O U R C E S

― SKY PHOTOGRAPHY TIP SHEETS ―

 

HOW TO PHOTOGRAPH A METEOR SHOWER
 

Creating beautiful photos of a meteor shower is not as tough as one might imagine. Nor as easy!   All you need is a camera capable of setting manually for time exposures, a wide angle and fast lens (f/2 or faster―but certainly no slower than f/2.8), a very high ISO setting on your digital camera or very fast color film, a sturdy tripod and a locking cable release or remote control. 

Oh, and plenty of luck!

Find a location far from city lights, set up your camera on the tripod, set the lens to manual focus and focus on infinity, turn off the image stabilization (IS or VR) and aim the camera toward the sky.  Since one has no idea where a meteor might fall, it's always best to aim your camera about 45 degrees away from the shower's radiant (the constellation for which the meteor shower is named), and about 45 degrees above the horizon.  The best times are usually during the hours before dawn when meteors can appear more plentiful.

With the lens open all the way, focus on infinity
(∞) and expose your digital camera for up to 30 or 60 seconds; anything longer may produce more noise than anything else.  Your exposure will accumulate faint starlight on the sensor and, if you're very lucky, a meteor streak crossing the frame.  You may need to shoot hundreds of frames to get a meteor to show up, so persistence is the key!  Remember, you can always delete those images with no meteors on them.


― Dennis Mammana