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Photographing Meteor Showers From Planning to Post Processing first post in the mini series

Photographing Meteor Showers  

From Planning to Post Processing

first post in the mini series

Before beginning I will state that moving beyond this point is done so at your own risk. 
I will not, and can not be held responsible for injury or damage to your equipment, your person, or a third party. 
You are hopefully a responsible adult and can make decisions based upon your own experience.  I never would endorse an illegal activity or one that would put someone at risk.

This was instantly one of the favorite images in my collection.  It was also the inspiration for this blog post.
Several people expressed an interest in how this photograph was made.
Nothing in this photograph is “made up”, it is however several images that have been blended together to produce a single image of the Orionid Meteor Shower.
This intent of this series of posts is to provide a sort of “walk through” on producing this image.  In it I will discuss everything from equipment used, to planning the shot, to processing the final image.
By the end of the series, I hope to impart the knowledge and skills needed to produce images of your own, done in a similar style .

Photographic Equipment Required
Photographing meteor showers will give you a leniency that you do not get in regular landscape astrophotography. 
In regular landscape astrophotography the main interest is quite often the milky way or other diffuse structures in the night sky.  
Regular landscape astrophotography is made easier with cameras and lenses that are of optically higher quality.  That’s not to say that you can’t capture a quality image with an older camera or a slower lens. 
Having both does however make regular landscape astrophotography easier.
For shooting meteor showers a regular DSLR “kit” can achieve the results you’re looking for.
You will however require a sturdy tripod so as the camera does not move during your long exposures.

Other Useful Equipment
Before Throughout the series I will provide you with other things that I find helpful when planning or executing a  meteor shower shot.  My list will be a solid starting point.  I will caution however that I still run into situations that I am not prepared for.  My list should not be taken as the be all to end all list of equipment required.  I'm sure you will find several things that I've forgotten.

First things first
Before we begin, I think it would be helpful to have a clear understanding of what a “shooting star” really is.

Progressive Definition of Shooting Star
Quite often people are confused as to what exactly a shooting star is.  I think it would be easier to explain by using a series of definitions and piecing it together.

All Shooting Stars start off as debris in our solar system.  This debris can be the size of a grain of sand, or it can be the size of a large boulder.  This debris is called a Meteoroid.

When a Meteoroid large enough travels through Earths atmosphere it creates an atmospheric ram pressure that heats the meteoroid and creates a glowing trail of glowing gases and melted particles of the meteoroid.  This is when it is called a Meteor or “Shooting Star”

Every once in a while a Meteoroid / Shooting Star will reach the surface of Earth.  It is at this point that a Meteoroid becomes a Meteorite .

Planning the Shot 
This will be the topic covered in the next post in the series.  I quickly discovered that planning is probably one of the largest sections in this series.  I want to dedicate the time required to produce a list of things that somewhat resembles a complete list.  This would be impossible to do in short fashion, so I have decided to dedicate a separate post in the series to the subject.

I hope that I've peaked your interest, and that you will keep your eyes open for the next post in the instructional series.


  1. Thank you for taking the time in putting this post together. Looking forward to the rest


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