How to photograph meteors, including the Perseids in August.
The Perseid meteor shower is already here, and it will reach its peak on August 12th as the Earth passes through the dust left by comet. If you want to photograph shooting stars, use a wide angle lens with a large aperture, set the ISO to 800 or higher, and use a tripod. It’s no good chasing meteors around the sky – chose one spot and stick to it. It might lower your blood pressure to set up several cameras to reduce the odds of missing a great one. If you point the camera at the radiant, you’re more likely to get something, but they’ll be short streaks. If you point it 90º away from the radiant, you’ll get fewer meteor streaks, but they’ll be longer ones. It helps if you can take long exposures. With a wide angle lens, you can usually go up to about 30 seconds before the stars move noticeably. However, in most places the light pollution will washout your picture long before that. Get as far away from city lights as you can, and experiment to see how long you can expose for until the sky gets too pale. Of course the island of La Palma has the best night sky in Europe, and it’s easy to find dark skies and interesting foregrounds. The attached photo was taken on La Palma by Christoph Marlin of The World at Night (TWAN). TWAN photographers are partners on the first International Conference on Nightscapes (La Palma, September 29th – October 2nd, 2015). A great panel of astrophotographers are planning to attend to it as speakers. To further improve your astro landscapes, you can sign up for Astromaster, a 5-day, intensive workshop on nightscape photography and time-lapses which will run from October 3rd -8th 2015.