Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Capture Meteor Photos with iPhone: What You'll Need

For the upcoming Geminid meteor shower, I'm planning to put out as many cameras as I can to increase my chances of catching a handful of big bright meteors! This includes my iPhone with the updated version of NightCap Pro, which has been shown to be capable of catching meteors with nothing but your phone!

Using NightCap for meteors photos with your iPhone, select Night Mode , and Long Exposure (aka Star Trail) to create a long exposure photo waiting to capture meteors that fly by. 

iphone meteor photo
Shooting star captured on iPhone using NightCap - Photo from NightCapCamera.com

Here's my plan:

I'm going to attach my iPhone to a tripod using the Glif tripod mount. I'm still using the iPhone 5 until I upgrade in January, so I have the iPhone 5 version, but I see they have a new universal adapter for just about any phone.

iphone tripod for meteor photos
iPhone 5 with Glif tripod adapter

If you want to go super cheap, you can also make a tripod adapter out of a binder clip - but this will wobble in the wind so it's not really the best solution. 

A big concern is battery life while taking a long exposure photo in the cold. You're going to want to plug your phone in to keep it charged. The combination of camera apps and freezing air really drains it fast. If you absolutely don't have access to a power source, you can try something I learned a while ago which is to give your iPhone a little winter coat made out of a plastic bag - it helps keep your phone protected from the freezing wind for a little while but it's not the ideal solution.

extend iphone battery cold
iPhone wearing a plastic bag winter jacket with a hole cut for the camera to peek through
Get everything set up and then leave it alone. As long as you have it plugged in, the phone shouldn't die in the cold and you should end up with a nice star trail photo dotted with meteors.

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