Photographing the Perseids meteor shower – My First Attempt

Photographing the Perseids

This is my first attempt at Photographing the Perseids Meteor Shower. The Perseids is a prolific meteor shower associated with the fragments from comet Swift-Tuttle and are called “The Perseids” because the point from which they originate, lies in the constellation of Perseus. Having checked the StarWalk app on the iPhone it seemed that the Perseids would be in the North East of the sky at about 11pm and the International Space Station would bass at 11:03pm. I chose Woodstown in Co. Waterford as the location due to the lack of local light and the lack of light in the direction which I would be shooting, i.e. towards the hook peninsula. Having arrived I started setting up and taking test shots. I initially used the 24-105 L Lens but found that to be too narrow of an angle and eventually settled on the 10-24 Tamron Wide Angle lens going back to the 10mm to get in as much sky as possible.

The setup I used in Photographing the Perseids Meteor shower was as follows;

  • Tripod – you can’t take photos of meteors (or long exposures for that matter) without one
  • Make sure the lens is clean (nothing worse than having to clone/tidy dust or smudge marks afterwards)
  • The 10-24 Wide Angle Lens – to get in as much sky as possible and a better chance of capturing a meteor
  • ISO Set at 3200 initially but I played around with ISO4000 and ISO5000
  • The Lens I used had a minimum Aperture of f/3.2 which I used
  • Set the focus ring to Infinity (you really need a focus ring to make things easy and ensure sharpness)
  • I set the camera to full Manual mode – M on the Canon
  • White Balance set to Tungsten to try eliminate any yellow in the sky due to lights
  • Shutter Speed set to 30 seconds any longer and the earth’s rotation would be visible
  • I used an infra-red remote control to trigger the camera meaning I could sit and watch the sky without having to repeatly visit the camera to take another photo
  • After that just take photos and hope you get a few bright meteors on film

The results or me Photographing the Perseids can be seen below. The first shot shows the International Space Station passing directly overhead and top left is a Perseids originating in the North East.

Peresid Meteor Shower - How to photograph the peresid / persid meteor shower

The second photo shows 2 Perseid meteors captured in the 30 second exposure – you can see some cloud building to the left of the photo, as it streaks while moving during the exposure.

Photo of Peresid Meteor Shower - How to photograph the peresid / persid meteor shower and Milky Way

Ideally I would like some sort of foreground interest to add something to the photo and also the Perseids meteor shower seems to peak at 3am – not something I felt like to staying up for. The above are nothing like some of the amazing shots of meteors you can find on the web but not bad for a first attempt.  

Photographing the Perseids – Photo Location : Woodstown, Co. Waterford, Ireland