The final meteor shower for the year is almost upon us and for photographers this may be the best show all year. And why is that I hear you asking?
This year's Germinid meteor shower coincides with the new moon giving us nice dark skies in which to view and photograph the meteor shower. The meteors in this shower radiate from the Gemini constellation which in the summer months, for southern hemisphere viewers, can be found in the north eastern night sky. Meteors from this shower may be seen in the sky from as early as the 7th December and as late as the 17th December with the height of the shower being visible from late evening on the 13th December through the night.
What makes this meteor shower a great one to photograph is that the meteors are moving at a speed of 35km/second (a moderate speed for a meteor) and that as these meteors burn up in our atmosphere white, yellow, green, blue and red colour trails can be seen. At the height of the meteor shower it is predicted that we may be able to see up to 60 meteors per hour. So how as photographers do we capture this event?
There are a number of ways to capture stars in the night skies. I am a fan of long exposures so I would be aiming to do either long exposure star trails or use the star stacking method to create an image. This way I have a greater chance of capturing a meteor in my exposure and if I am lucky I may even get more than one meteor in an image.
My quick tips would be:
• Try and get away from bright light sources if possible.
• Use a tripod for long exposures.
• Pick your widest lens to get as much of the sky in and increase your chance of capturing a meteor.
• A cable release so you can set your camera up, open the shutter and then sit back and enjoy the show.
• Make sure your batteries are fully charged as it would be awful to run out just as the show is heating up.
• Bring a friend or fellow photographer as there is always safety in numbers.
The Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium at Mt Cootha in Brisbane is the most reliable local source of up to date information on the event for viewers in this part of the world. All you have to do is Like their Facebook page for more information. https://www.facebook.com/BrisbanePlanetarium
Good luck and happy photographing to anyone heading out to try and capture this event we look forward to seeing any images on the Facebook page.
Kelsey Brown is an assistant tutor with Bluedog Photography.
Photography Workshops, Retreats and Ttours.