Skip to main content

Beginner's Guide to Astro Landscape Photography

Lesson 12 of 20

Photographing Meteor Showers

 

Beginner's Guide to Astro Landscape Photography

Lesson 12 of 20

Photographing Meteor Showers

 

Lesson Info

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.

Class Description

AFTER THIS CLASS YOU’LL BE ABLE TO:

  • Scout for the best location to capture the night sky
  • Understand how to research the moon and what makes for the best opportunities
  • Camera setting and techniques
  • Gear guides for your night adventure
  • How to shoot meteor showers, star trails, the moon and other cosmic events

ABOUT PETER'S CLASS:

Night owl by nature? Get the skills and techniques to capture the night sky and the activity it presents. Peter Baumgarten, an Olympus Visionary, takes you in the field to discuss gear requirements, safety and camera set up so you can confidently go into any landscape and capture the milky way and beyond. With in-the-field examples, Peter will show you how to best prep and research your way to success as well as how to trouble shoot when the lights go out.

WHO THIS CLASS IS FOR:

  • Night photographers
  • Beginners
  • Landscape and Outdoor enthusiasts

ABOUT YOUR INSTRUCTOR:

Peter is a professional photographer and educator living on Manitoulin Island in Northern Ontario. He regularly leads photography courses and workshops for novice and enthusiast photographers and travels across North America as an Olympus Visionary providing lectures and seminars on landscape, wildlife, and astrophotography. His work has been published in a number of magazines in both Canada and the U.S. and has been recognized for excellence on a number of photography websites. Peter is an avid outdoor enthusiast with a passion for wilderness camping, canoeing and kayaking.

Reviews

Doug Marshall
 

Some classes are just fantastic and this is one of them! Peter Baumgarten is a wonderful presenter of his extensive knowledge, experience and passion for the subject. This is a course I will return to watch again and again. Highly recommended if you are like me and are interested in getting into astrophotography and landscape.

elizabeth chambers
 

To my way of thinking this was the best photographic genre instructor featured during the Olympus Step Outside series. He may be a more seasoned instructor than the photographers demonstrating landscape and bird photography. Whatever the reason, I thought he seemed to understand his audience particularly well. Great advice and the post processing was interesting. Likely because of my familiarity with Lightroom, I found the post production done by the bird and landscape photographers rather mundane whereas the astro photography post production was new and interesting to me.

todd Tempco
 

I wish there was a sideways thumb because this is a great class if you are shooting with an Olympus camera. The instructor who I find very watchable is an Olympus shooter and I believe sponsored by Olympus. So every thing is demoed around that camera. There is no other workarounds if you shoot with another brand. When talking about lens selection his world is micro 4/3's he should have been converting to full frame sized lenses, so take his numbers and multiply by 2. I got it on sale and was worth the cost. While doing the class I was thinking of looking to see what other classes he has because he is a good instructor. But if they are all are optimized for Olympus cameras I'll pass.