Tips on photographing meteors

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Mee_n_Mac

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I hope this is the proper forum to ask this question. Having recently obtained a digital SLR, I had hoped to catch a few Leonids last month. Alas the hoped for shower was a bust and weather was bad in any case. Now I'm hoping I might try my luck with some Geminids. Search as I did, I could not find any tips on photographing meteors here. I have found some on the WWW but I'm hoping people here can provide some tips and techiques they've personally used and found to be good. Manual mode and pre-focused to infinity, remote release are givens. What about shutter time (long as possible w/o creating star trails ?), aperture (as open as possible but retaining sharpness ?), FOV (wide as possible ?) and ISO ? FWIW, I'd be using a Minolta 5D. Lens max aperture is f/3.5 @ 28mm equivalent and I would say is sharp certainly by f/8, f/5.6 even. Thx in advance !<br /> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p>-----------------------------------------------------</p><p><font color="#ff0000">Ask not what your Forum Software can do do on you,</font></p><p><font color="#ff0000">Ask it to, please for the love of all that's Holy, <strong>STOP</strong> !</font></p> </div>
 
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MeteorWayne

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I suggest the NAMN Photography site , or the IMO photo website <br /><br />For tips from real users, both sites have maillists for discussion of such subjects, but with a mojor shower upcoming, the e-mail traffic can be overwhelming. The meteorobs maillist has a digest option which cuts it down a bit.<br /><br />From my knowledge, yes shutter time as long as you can without your local light pollution washing things out. I wouldn't worry too much about star trails. If you think you've captured a meteor, stop the exposure and start a new one. It's a rare event.<br />Aperture as open as possible, since you are focusing on infinity. FOV as wide as possible unless you feel lucky, punk <img src="/images/icons/smile.gif" />.<br /><br />The other question you did not address is where to point the camera. It would be best to put the radiant (near Castor) in the corner of your field of view. Near the radiant, meteors will be very short. In fact a meteor at the radiant would be a point, hard to distinguish from a star, depending on how much the stars trail during your exposure. In order to get a lengthy trail, you will need to pointed 30-60 degrees away from the radiant. I recommend pointing the camera about 60 degrees above the horizon, in whichever direction east or west from the radiant gives you the darkest skies (so you can have the longest exposure time, hence the most chance of capturing a meteor).<br />A camera is going to capture only the brightest 10 or 20% of the meteors you can see, so the recordable rates are quite low.<br />So be patient, and don't be disappointed if you don't capture one this time.<br /><br />Oh, and don't point toward the moon <img src="/images/icons/cool.gif" /><br />Meteor Wayne<br /><br /><br /><br /> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><font color="#000080"><em><font color="#000000">But the Krell forgot one thing John. Monsters. Monsters from the Id.</font></em> </font></p><p><font color="#000080">I really, really, really, really miss the "first unread post" function</font><font color="#000080"> </font></p> </div>
 
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Mee_n_Mac

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Thanks for the links & tips, especially aiming. Guess I'll see whether it was 5 or 6 shots ... <img src="/images/icons/wink.gif" /> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p>-----------------------------------------------------</p><p><font color="#ff0000">Ask not what your Forum Software can do do on you,</font></p><p><font color="#ff0000">Ask it to, please for the love of all that's Holy, <strong>STOP</strong> !</font></p> </div>
 
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MeteorWayne

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Sorry, I don't get what you mean by 5 or 6 shots.<br />If there's a question in there, make it clearer for my sluggish neurons <img src="/images/icons/smile.gif" /> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><font color="#000080"><em><font color="#000000">But the Krell forgot one thing John. Monsters. Monsters from the Id.</font></em> </font></p><p><font color="#000080">I really, really, really, really miss the "first unread post" function</font><font color="#000080"> </font></p> </div>
 
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Mee_n_Mac

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<font color="yellow"><i>"Sorry, I don't get what you mean by 5 or 6 shots. If there's a question in there, make it clearer for my sluggish neurons"</i></font><br /><br />Sorry when I read the far below in your original response I thought it was a reference to <b>Dirty Harry</b> where he says ;<br /><br /><i>I know what you're thinking. Did he fire six shots or only five? Well, to tell you the truth, in all this excitement, I've kinda lost track myself. But being as this is a .44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world, and would blow your head clean off, you've got to ask yourself one question: Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya punk?"</i><br /><br />No further questions on my part. Unless you're calling me a punk*. <img src="/images/icons/wink.gif" /><br /><br /><font color="orange"><i>"FOV as wide as possible unless you feel lucky, punk"</i> - MeteorWayne </font><br /><br />*No I'm not thinking that but there's got to be a good Clint Eastwood line for that situation. <img src="/images/icons/smile.gif" /><br /> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p>-----------------------------------------------------</p><p><font color="#ff0000">Ask not what your Forum Software can do do on you,</font></p><p><font color="#ff0000">Ask it to, please for the love of all that's Holy, <strong>STOP</strong> !</font></p> </div>
 
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MeteorWayne

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Sorry, I missed the reference to my own attempt at humor <img src="/images/icons/smile.gif" /> Doh! <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><font color="#000080"><em><font color="#000000">But the Krell forgot one thing John. Monsters. Monsters from the Id.</font></em> </font></p><p><font color="#000080">I really, really, really, really miss the "first unread post" function</font><font color="#000080"> </font></p> </div>
 
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