Photographing Meteor Showers
Given that we're dealing with longer exposures in astral landscape photography, it's actually not unusual to capture a meteor streaking through the sky at any time of the year. The first thing you need to know is when they're going to occur. Now, as we're orbiting the sun, there are also many other objects that orbit the sun as well, and some of those are comets. And as a comet is streaking through space, it is releasing a variety of particles. Some of them are quite small, the size of a grain of sand, and every so often, the Earth passes through this stream of particles, and those particles burn up at high speed in our atmosphere, and we see a shooting star. These are quite predictable events. There's probably a meteor shower almost every month of the year, but there are certainly three key ones that are a bit more intense than most. We're heading into August, the Perseids is perhaps the best one to try to photograph, and it peaks August 12th. You can go out a few days before and a fe...
w days after that and likely see some meteors streaking through the sky, but if you want the best display, you'll go out August 12th. Another meteor shower that is quite nice to photograph is the Geminids, and they happen in December and the Lyrids happen in April. Those would be the three that I might suggest that you try to photograph during the year, even though there are other lesser events during other months. As far as your camera settings go, they're exactly the same that you would normally use for regular astral shooting. It may be called a shower, but don't expect to get you know, two, three, five, ten meteors all in one shot, that's not going to happen, right? It might be several shots that go by before you get your first meteor and then another five or ten shots before you get your next one. We've got a large expansive sky, you're gonna improve your chances if you're pointing your camera in the right direction. Meteor showers are sort of like the Milky Way, they generally start in the East and move towards the South, but you're gonna wanna see what direction those meteors are coming from. A great reference is a website such as TimeAndDate.com, it has a whole section on the meteor events during the year, and also includes some tips on how to shoot them, but you wanna find out where to point your camera. Generally speaking, you're gonna wanna use a fairly wide angle lens, but of course the wider you go, the smaller those streaks are going to appear in your frame, but if you go too narrow then your chances of capturing them are gonna be far less. Even if you don't point it in the right direction, they can be in a variety of different locations. One of the things that people will often see online or on Instagram are photos of these meteor showers where there's, you know, 10, 15, 20 meteor strikes all in the same image. Those are composite photographs, there's no way that that actually happened all in a 30 second exposure, and so these are shots such as this one, where you've got a variety or meteors happening over maybe several hours, and then those are composited and photoshopped later. Now sometimes people if they're, if they're an Olympus user, might think "Well the best way of capturing a meteor "or a series of meteors would be to use "the live composite mode", and I would actually recommend not doing that, because although you will capture the streaks of light over half an hour, an hour, up to three hours, you're also going to be capturing the movement of the stars. And so you will see the star trails super imposed with the actual meteors, and if that's the effect you're going for, great, but if you just want the meteor strikes, you don't wanna be using live composite.