Friday, December 14, 2012

Lessons learned from the Geminid meteor shower

The 2012 Geminid shower was the first meteor shower I attempted to photograph. It was an eye-opening experience, simultaneously frustrating and fun.

Over a 3 night period, I shot 672 images of the night sky using both my Canon Powershot and Canon Rebel XT. After hours of recording, all I have to show for it is some star trail images, and one measly photo of a real Geminid meteor:

geminid meteor iso 800 with point and shoot
Geminid meteor faint even at ISO 800

The first two nights I was shooting with ISO 400, which in hindsight looks like it was just too low to pick up the fast and faint meteors. Although I saw dozens with the naked eye, they just weren't registering on the cameras. 

Looking back, I also moved my cameras around too much. I originally thought to get the best shots I would have to aim toward the origin of meteors in the Gemini constellation, but now I know that meteors appear anywhere in the sky and actually have longer trails further from the radiant point. I should have framed a good shot with the roof line of the apartment complex and just let the meteors come to me.

Hopefully next time I'll be better prepared to capture the meteors - and hopefully by then I'll have a shutter remote lock for the Canon Rebel XT so I don't have to tape the button down!

star trails with aircraft iso 800
No shortage of stars and aircraft, just no meteors...

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