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DPChallenge Forums >> Photography Discussion >> Photo opp - Meteor Shower this weekend
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11/17/2006 09:23:53 AM · #1
Just saw this link on Yahoo and thought I would share:
Meteor Shower

I've only tried shooting at night (outside - sky shots) once but maybe some long exposures could work.
11/17/2006 10:44:08 AM · #2
Any hints on what lens to use, settings, etc?
11/17/2006 10:50:38 AM · #3
Originally posted by hankk:

Any hints on what lens to use, settings, etc?


From what I can glean

Live in the eastern US or europe
Point towards the Eastern sky, late at night.

When I've shot star trails, I aim for around ISO 400, something like F4 or F5.6. Use a wideish angle lens to get lots of the sky in the scene. With a decent SLR you can shoot for 30 minute exposures or longer.

A _really_ solid tripod. Perhaps duct-tape on the leg fasteners to be sure it doesn't slip.

Get away from a lot of ambient/ city light

Wear warm clothes. Take a couple of flashlights.

Take some soup, or coffee. Bring a chair :)

Lot of good info on nightphotography in this videocast from the Radiant Vista. Much of it is applicable to shooting a meteor shower.

Message edited by author 2006-11-17 10:51:43.
11/17/2006 11:07:13 AM · #4
Ducttape is important, tape every connection part of the tripod.
Make sure you use noise reduction, this limits your battery time to like 1-3hours depening on your battery, but it will remove so much noise.

I have never had a good result with anything over ISO100, just becomes too noisey. I guess for the meteor shower, one might wanna do a shorter exposure, maybe like 30min or so.

If I get a chance I will try to go there, I'm suppose to be at a hospital now, but I couldn't stay. This sounds like a good photo opt!


11/17/2006 01:06:15 PM · #5
Along with what's already been mentioned.

If you use a red flashlight, it will have less effect on your night vision.

Along with a chair, bring a blanket or something to spread out, so you can just lie back and enjoy the show while your camera records. (saves your neck)
11/17/2006 01:24:21 PM · #6
...and I will also have my assistant, Jimmy Beam, to help with the shoot.
11/17/2006 01:30:11 PM · #7
I normally use Noise Suppression on the camera for long exposures ... but for me, a long exposure is rarely more than a minute or so. That means only a minute or two of wasted time between shots, waiting for the camera to subtract out the noise.

Question: Have you tried shooting the stars / meteors without noise suppression and simply used NeatImage after the fact? If so, how do the two compare?

I'm just wondering if I could get more exposures in the same amount of time if I do the noise suppression in post rather than in camera.

Message edited by author 2006-11-17 13:48:15.
11/17/2006 01:37:21 PM · #8
Just out of curiousity, does anyone know how to accomplish a 30 minute exposure on a Nikon D50 besides putting it into bulb and holding down the shutter release for the whole time? Would I need a remote for this?

Message edited by author 2006-11-17 13:37:54.
11/17/2006 01:43:51 PM · #9
I have a cable remote and it has a lock function on it.
You can either press it for one picture, or press and lock and leave it open for however long you want.
11/17/2006 01:44:58 PM · #10
Originally posted by Citadel:

Just out of curiousity, does anyone know how to accomplish a 30 minute exposure on a Nikon D50 besides putting it into bulb and holding down the shutter release for the whole time? Would I need a remote for this?


Depends on if you get hot pixles, if you just get noise then neat image should help (it is just doing roughly the same thing your camera would be just software vs hardware) If you get hot pixles then using a hot pixel suppression in raw is your best bet.
11/17/2006 01:51:18 PM · #11
The Leonids meteor shower traditionally has been the best of the year for photography. That is because they tend to be bright meteors and sometimes there are very many.

We are on the waining side of this shower's cycle, but still worth the effort to get good pictures.
11/17/2006 02:54:10 PM · #12
Originally posted by dwterry:

I normally use Noise Suppression on the camera for long exposures ... but for me, a long exposure is rarely more than a minute or so. That means only a minute or two of wasted time between shots, waiting for the camera to subtract out the noise.

Question: Have you tried shooting the stars / meteors without noise suppression and simply used NeatImage after the fact? If so, how do the two compare?

I'm just wondering if I could get more exposures in the same amount of time if I do the noise suppression in post rather than in camera.


If your camera does 'dark frame' subtraction and shoots for the same length of time as the exposure, I switch off noise reduction once I get to about 30 seconds.

I've done a few several hour night shots and not needed neat image or anything like that.
11/17/2006 03:10:36 PM · #13
we have grey sky here not sure if it will clear up at all.
11/17/2006 03:32:52 PM · #14
Originally posted by Bugzeye:

we have grey sky here not sure if it will clear up at all.


Hopefully it will for you, there won't be much Moonlight to "pollute" the sky making it ideal for meteor viewing.
11/18/2006 11:12:15 PM · #15
So I just peeked my head outside to see if I could catch an early show but looks to be still a little too early because I didn't see a one. I think it might be a little too bright where I am anyways.

But I have to say that it's a bit frigid out there. I could barely sit out there for 10 minutes, let alone 30! :-) You guys sitting out there doing long exposures are tough. :-)

Hope you guys get some great photos (minus the frostbite) ;-)
11/18/2006 11:15:57 PM · #16
Originally posted by dwterry:

Question: Have you tried shooting the stars / meteors without noise suppression and simply used NeatImage after the fact? If so, how do the two compare?


It's hard for NeatImage to tell the difference between a hot pixel and a star...

~Terry
11/19/2006 01:34:59 AM · #17
Originally posted by Bugzeye:

we have grey sky here not sure if it will clear up at all.


cloudy here in Chicago burbs too.

My son is out camping with his Scout troop this weekend and I told them to look out for the show tonight, but the weather just isn't cooperating. :(

I saw some good ones in August during the annual Perseid showers this year, but I was really hoping for a good clear show tonight. oh well.

Dave
11/19/2006 01:51:03 AM · #18
I learned a lesson tonight while trying to shoot this...

I did a couple test exposures of my composition to make sure I was getting what I wanted to get. After that, I sat down for a while, had some hot drinks and waited.

My camera and tripod stayed where I left them while we waited until nearing peak time (around 1145pm ET). When I went back to shoot my 20 minute exposure, my lens had fogged up. I didn't consider that until it was too late...


11/19/2006 07:04:32 AM · #19
Oppps John. I forgot to mention that, it's a major problem.
I warp my camera in a coating, sometimes I even use my car as a housing if I can get the proper prespective.

But it's a real challenge, I would love to hear what others normally do.


11/19/2006 01:06:27 PM · #20
THIS is what i got on my first test photo...

THIS is what i got on the longer exposure after my lens fogged up...


11/19/2006 01:24:19 PM · #21
Well, your test shot looks fantastic John! At least you walked away with that. :-)
11/19/2006 01:37:09 PM · #22
what lens jon?
11/19/2006 02:48:30 PM · #23
it was too foggy here to even try to shoot the Meteor shower :(
11/19/2006 03:01:33 PM · #24
Originally posted by Citadel:

Just out of curiousity, does anyone know how to accomplish a 30 minute exposure on a Nikon D50 besides putting it into bulb and holding down the shutter release for the whole time? Would I need a remote for this?


Yeah, you will need to put the camera into bulb and use a remote. I guess in theory you could hold down the shutter for 30 mins but a remote is the best bet. Press it once to open the shutter, press it again to close it. Plus the remote is worth every dollar you spend (20 bucks or so, probably cheaper if you shop around). I use it all of the time.
11/19/2006 03:08:10 PM · #25
Crystal clear skies last night but only two visible meteors in the first hour, none after that (9:30 PM to 11:30 PM MST). Both occurred during post shutter noise reduction. One was very bright, streaking North to South, about 9:45 PM. The other was faint, far to the North, traveling East to West.
The D50 is easy to use for this type photography: set the mode to 'bulb' and hit the self timer button twice to place in remote mode. First remote stroke opens the shutter and second stroke closes the shutter. Remember that 'NR on' will require a post shutter processing time equal to the shutter open time, so use fresh batteries and bring a couple spares!
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