Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Watching the Meteors!

Last weekend was supposed to be one of the best of the year for meteor watching. We went out to 29 Palms on Friday night, and I got the smart idea to set up my camera on "remote control" and let it do all the work while I slumbered through the night, hoping I might get lucky and catch a random meteor.  I have a shutter activator that you can program (delay, interval between exposures, and total number of exposures).  So about 10 PM I set up my tripod outside my bedroom door and pointed my camera toward the Milky Way.  I set the delay for about 5 hours (somewhere I read the best sky shots are between about 3 AM and 4 AM, and that's a good time for meteors as well), set the delay time between exposures for 3 minutes, and set the number of exposures for 30.  Then I set up my camera: f/2.8, 20 second exposure, ISO 1600, 16mm wide angle. As I went to bed, I crossed my fingers my camera would still be there in the morning! (we're pretty remote, so fairly safe to do this). Thankfully my camera was still there on Saturday AM.  I anxiously checked to see what I captured, and I had 30 photos more or less identical to this one:
I got pretty excited because I thought that streak you see across the Milky Way must be a meteor. However, I'm pretty sure it's just a plane. Either way, a good shot of the Milky Way considering it's right outside my bedroom door. Next, I layered all 30 photos in Photoshop. With the exposures spaced 3 minutes apart, the stars become a series of dots as they move across the sky, and the Milky Way disappears! Very cool!!
On Saturday night after the sun set, we packed up the Jeep, found a secluded road in the park, and relaxed under the stars, scanning the heavens for shooting meteors.
Hard to tell from this dark, grainy photo, but that's my wife and I and our chihuahua lying on cots under the beautiful Milky Way sky in Joshua Tree. A fun way to spend a couple hours!!

37 comments:

  1. You have got a really great outdoors in your backyard. Keep them coming. I love it.

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  2. Good idea although it didn't pan out. I like that last photo. Looks like you caught another plane over your heads or is that actually a meteor? Tough call.

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  3. Awesome views of the night sky and the layered one is really cool too. :)

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  5. This picture makes me look fat. :-(

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  6. Wow! Excellent photography and what a delightful way to spend the time with nature's beauty!, carol, xo

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  7. These are absolutely incredible photos! They really took my breath away! Thank you so much for sharing! Awesome!!

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  8. I´ve done the same but in a single shot of the Milky Way, with 24mm, f/4 or 3.5, ISO 3200 in 20 sec, and then edited my photo in Lightroom. I haven´t tried to stacking images together yet.
    Great photos from you. I like them very well.

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  9. Great pics. I loved your milky way shot but the composite of the thirty is wonderful.

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  10. Looks like you did get a meteor in that last image.

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    http://asthecrackerheadcrumbles.blogspot.com/2013/08/sites-to-see_594.html

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  12. What a great photo, better that my attempt

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  13. Stunning photos and interesting photo shopping. Did you sleep through it all?

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  14. They are all awesome shots. I love your Milky Way sky! Well done, have a great weekend!

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  15. Wow ! What a gift to see this ~ you must have been thrilled and to take such gorgeous photographs! thanks, carol, xo

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  16. Thanks for visiting my site. And regarding your shots, all I can say is stunning. Beyond that I am speechless. Envious you and your better half can sleep under such an incredible canopy of light. THANK YOU so much for sharing!!!!!

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  17. Wonderful series. Must be a great way to experience the shooting stars.

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  18. I love the reclining pose in the last shot. Thanks for these. It's been too cloudy to see here.
    http://www.looseleafnotes.com/2013/08/summer-flies-by-2/

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  19. what fun, your pics are wonderful, glad I didn't have to stay up since I can see it here :)

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  20. Wow! Amazing photos (and photo treatment).... and a night under the stars is a wonderful thing!

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  21. Wow - those photos are amazing. So very beautiful.

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  22. Wow what a fabulous light show, not something we get to see every day

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  23. Stunning pictures of the Meteor shower in August. Gorgeous !
    Best regards, Synnöve

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  25. Wow! My husband and I tried to stay up to catch the show but saw only one shoot through the sky before we had to call it a night. Sadly, 4 am wake-ups make for early nights too. Thanks for sharing this incredible event!

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  26. Love it. I have always been out watching the sky for the Pers meteors but this year--OVERCAST. Bah Humbug. Love your shots. MB

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  27. Clouds everywhere here in Kansas. I would have loved to have a clear sky and watch those meteors "sizzle" through the sky. Mickie :)

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  28. Did not get to see the recent meteor showers - but the skies on my recent trip to central Australia were remarkable. Cant really understand why I did not do any long exposures. I suppose I'll have to go back!

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

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  29. Wonderful shots... evoking wonder!

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  30. That's the life!!! So long as there are no biting bugs!!

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