Shooting Stars: A Disappointed Night

After a week and a half of being too busy, I am posting again! I finally made some time to go out and do some night sky shooting with my camera. I took along my Sony A77, with tripod and 14mm lens to capture the Perseid Meteor Showers with. But the shower was more like a trickle, maybe even less, as I saw only five really good streaks fly through the sky per hour. My high hopes were fraught with moon light and  high clouds, alone with the usual Lower Mainland light (and air) pollution. But I stuck it out, leaving around 3:00am with just a few really bad images of shooting stars.

Moon Set August 14 2016 Weblog Image

I was not empty handed, however, as I did manage to capture the setting moon (2:45am), using a timed 30 second exposure with my 14mm lens. I thought that this image looked really nice for all of my efforts. The image above is the Moon just as it was setting below the horizon. You can see the high clouds and ground level fog creeping in as the night grew.

My method was simple for trying to photograph shooting stars. I used a really wide lens, 14mm, almost what I would call a “fish eye” lens. The wider the lens, the longer the exposure time you can use before you start to see star trails from the Earth’s rotation. With my camera mounted on a good tripod, I set the camera to full manual, with my shutter speed to 30 seconds, with my ISO at 100. The Lens, I set the fstop to 2.5, or wide open, and set the focus to infinity. These settings were used in all of my shots.

The ambush. I find an area in the sky where I think the meteors are coming from. I point the camera to that area, and lock it in. Then using the time delay on my shutter button, I press it, and step away from the tripod, avoiding camera shake. Then I wait, hoping that a meteor will fall in the sky right where my lens is pointed. Then after 30 seconds, and another 30 seconds for my camera to format the image, I shoot again. So, in effect, I am ambushing sky, hoping that in one shot I capture a streak of light across the star canopy.

In all, I shot 60 images list night. Only in two images did I find any hint of a light streak. These images were to faint for me to really want posted. Until the next meteor shower.

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