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spacknick
12-14-2011, 09:23 AM
So last night and probably continuing into tonight is the Geminid Meteor Shower and although there is a rather strong moon I was wondering what the best way to shoot a meteor shower is? I know it will be more difficult with the moon but I'm also using this to prep for the Quadrantids Meteor Shower on January 3rd under a New moon. Any tips or anything I should rememeber? I don't do much night shooting so anything would help.

jacobsen1
12-14-2011, 10:11 AM
I think for meteor showers you'd want the same thing as for startrails? So a faster lens and 30s exposures.

MainFrame
12-15-2011, 06:05 PM
Last time I found it hard to really capture them at 30s. The meteors go by pretty quick, so in my experience they will turn out better with shorter exposure time and higher ISO.. like around 10s. I think running a programmed time lapse sequence to pack in a ton of exposures would be the way to go. That way you can just let it sit and you're bound to get some good shots if the shutter is only closed one out of every ten seconds for an hour or two.


If it wasn't all cloudy and raining outside I'd drive to the nearest dark zone and shoot for a couple hours tonight myself.

spacknick
12-15-2011, 09:48 PM
Yea, it got pretty bad out the other night so I ended up ditchin it. The January one should be better weather pending. The moon will be gone by 2:00 so I should be able to go out after that. Thanks for the advise. About how high an ISO should I go? I don't want to go to high and ruin the shot.

MainFrame
12-16-2011, 12:47 PM
It really just depends on your camera and the amount of noise you're comfortable with. I had always made a point of never shooting over 800 ISO because my camera's high ISO performance isn't all that great, but the last time I was working on time lapse settings I shot at 1600 ISO and it was fine. For the meteors to really stand out you're going to need to be capturing as much light in as little time as possible and just keep shooting until you get something good. At least that's the approach I would take (similar to getting good lightning shots without a trigger). If you have a lens you can stop down to f/1.4 or similar that will help let in more light too (as long as you don't plan on having a close subject with the stars in the background).

I would test it out before hand and see what settings will give you the best exposure of the stars while still keeping the exposure length relatively short. And to keep it firing off quickly you will need to turn off all in camera NR, then just work on the noise in PP.


Of course I'm no expert, so I may be steering you in the wrong direction, but last time I was shooting meteors I got nothing when I knew they had passed right through the middle of my shot. I was shooting 30s exposures and I could see the stars great, but there wasn't even a hint of the meteors. After thinking about it for a while I decided that the amount of light given off by the meteor for the .5s it passes by is actually quite low compared to the light you get in 30s from a star or planet. Therefore I needed to capture more light in a shorter period of time and assuming you already have your aperture wide open the only thing left to do is to increase your ISO sensitivity.