I had an opportunity once again this past week, to set out on a night trip to try and capture images of meteorites as they would fly across the night sky.
As I had mentioned on a previous blog entry, the cosmic event taking place on this occasion was the Perseids meteor shower. The Perseids, are particles released from comet 109P/Swift-Tuttle during its numerous returns to the inner solar system. They are called Perseids since the radiant (the area of the sky where the metors seem to originate) is located near the prominent constellation of Perseus the hero, when at maximum activity. They are believed to be active from July 13th to August 26th with peak dates around August 12 or 13 depending on the year.
Our biggest challenge for this event was the massively bright moon that we had on those days. With that in mind, we set to shoot in a way that would somehow counter the brightness of it, but it was still very difficult to see, let alone capture images of the meteorites. We figured it was going to be a long night as we had driven a couple hours to the west of where we live, to a State Park location, far away from towns and other sources of "light pollution".
I'm fairly new to cosmic or "astro photography" but knew that just like with other areas of photography, this requires patience and time, so we made ourselves comfortable with munchies and enough caffeine to keep us alert for a while.
I caught my first glimpse of a meteor as I was getting my gear out and ready. It was very bright and amazingly fast as it flew across the NW sky. I didn't see as many as I expected, but did notice a few others as the night went on. Thing is, I always seemed to miss them as my camera was pointed in a different direction. As I would then shift my direction, then I would notice them in the 1st area that I was. Ugghh!
As the minutes became hours, a rather dense and patchy fog started setting in. This made things a bit more challenging as it wasn't only highly visible, but the moisture and mist that it carried, started setting into our lenses and cameras making it very difficult to get a clear image of the skies.
We decided then, to just shoot and practice other night photo techniques and make the best out of the situation, all while hoping that as the fog passed, we'd have better luck with the meteors.
Not much changed as time went on. The fog did pass but our luck didn't improve much and we called it a night around 2:45- 3:00 AM.
In spite of that, we had a good time, exchanged stories, laughs and practiced our night photography. I did not come home with the bounty of great images I would have wanted or expected, but I have learned that with photography, like many other things in life, it sometimes is about the journey and not the destination. I will keep going back out and I will end up with amazing cosmic images one of these days.
In the meantime, I will keep having fun shooting and learning more about it.
Enjoy the photos!
Managed to get a couple of meteors photographed. I got lucky on the top ↑ image as I was making a photograph of my friend Keith as he stared at the moon and a meteor flashed through the sky in that very moment.
On the image below ↓ I'm not 100% sure if it indeed is a meteorite, but in the lower right just above the treeline, it sure looks like one.
Our camp below.
Notice how bright the moon was that night. It almost looked like daytime.