Sunday, August 12, 2012


I went to Coyote Lake near Gilroy to see the meteor shower.  I brought my camera along but it was mostly a secondary consideration; I chose the spot based off of a recommendation from an astronomers' website.  It was super dark, but I didn't like the landscape for framing possibilities.  I wanted to stare at stars, so I just pointed the camera up and shot continuously while I was there.  This was the best meteor I caught.

24-70mm @ 24mm, f/2.8, ISO 800, 30 second exposure
I believe the camera was facing directly north at the time.  I should try to map out the constellations at some point.  The reddish hue on the left side is light pollution from Gilroy (assuming I'm right that this is north), and the blueish hue on the right side is light from the moon.

I didn't have a cable release so I couldn't reliable shoot longer than 30-second exposures (max on my D90).  I boosted up the ISO to 800 and shot wide open, but in retrospect, I should have experimented with boosting up the ISO even more.  A few of the meteor pictures I saw on the internet actually had higher ISOs than what I was using.  I guess since there isn't any shadow detail, concern about noise in the black isn't a big deal.

The reason I now feel that I ought to boost up the ISO is that the meteors I saw weren't much brighter than the stars around them, but were only exposed on the camera for a fraction of a second, compared to the 30 seconds that the stars got.  So I think a higher ISO would result in a brighter meteor.  Oh well, maybe next time.

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