Photographing meteor showers

Given that it's time for the Perseid Meteor Shower, I figured it'd go how you can take photos of it, using Triggertrap Mobile. The approach is rather similar to shooting fireworks with Triggertrap Mobile, because - well - there's not all that much difference between human-made fireworks, and the celestial variety.

Sound like fun? Let's get started!

How to photograph meteor showers

It's like ALIENS visiting from SPACE! Or, y'know, just the Star Trails mode in action. 

It's like ALIENS visiting from SPACE! Or, y'know, just the Star Trails mode in action. 

  1. Set up your camera on a sturdy tripod. Pointing it at the sky would be a fine idea at this point.
  2. Set your camera to a moderately high ISO. I'd say 800 or 1000 is a good starting point, but you may need to go higher.
  3. Set a relatively large aperture. Some people argue to set it as wide as your lens will go (so the smallest f-stop number. Yes, f-stops are hellaconfusing, but believe it or not, it actually makes sense that the numbers are the 'wrong way around')
  4. Set your shutter speed to 'bulb', so Triggertrap Mobile can take control of the shutter.
  5. If your camera has it, turn off the 'low light noise reduction' feature, as this delays the time between each exposure. Shoot in Raw, and you'll be able to reduce some of the noise later on, in Lightroom / Aperture / whatever software you use to process your Raw images.
  6. Hook your camera up to the Triggertrap Mobile App using the Triggertrap Mobile Dongle.
  7. Use Star Trails mode on Triggertrap Mobile. Set it to 2 minute exposure on the app, with a 500ms gap between each exposure. This will ensure that your shutter is open 99.59% of the time, maximising your chances of capturing those meteorites.
  8. Check a few of the shots, and adjust the ISO and aperture until the stars are clearly visible in the sky on your shots. Remember that higher ISO means more light, but also more noise -- it's a fine balance, and the 'sweet spot' varies from camera to camera. Newer, full-frame camera bodies tend to have less noise at higher ISOs than older, crop-sensor bodies.

How easy was that? Woohoo!

If you do venture outside and get some awesome shots, please share 'em with us, for example via the Flickr pool!