Show Perseids Captures

Discussion in 'Astrophotography' started by tradesmith45, Aug 12, 2013.

  1. tradesmith45

    tradesmith45 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Dec 13, 2012
    Oregon
    Finally got a break in the thunderstorm/high overcast here in the Pacific Northwest. Went to a terrific state park in S. central Oregon that has good darkness. Spent the whole night shooting & watching. Did a bit of pano & light painting but mostly pointed the camera up w/ the intervalometer running @ 25 sec. exposure every 30 sec. w/ the 12mm @ f2, ISO 3200. Out of a few hundred frames, only correction 7 show a track.

    This was not the most intense Perseids I've seen. Never got to a sustained 60/ hr or even close. Frequency did pick up after 4:30 am PCT as twilight started. This one w/ 2 tracks (faint one in lower left) was from that period.

    :redface:EDIT: My apologies. Looking back through these captures, the brightest track in this post is definitely a satellite. . The faint track in the lower corner is probably a meteorite but can't be sure since it would have been out of the frame in both the before & after captures.

    First time I've photographed the shower. The camera sees the star field better than the eye but NOT the meteors.

    Perhaps some of you will be out tonight but not me. Good luck! Lets see your results.

    [​IMG][/url]
    _8120216 by tradesmith45, on Flickr[/IMG]
     
  2. RT_Panther

    RT_Panther Mu-43 Legend

    May 4, 2011
    Texas
    Way to start this one! :smile:
     
  3. dornblaser

    dornblaser Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 13, 2012
    Chicago-area
    David Dornblaser
    Very nice. Living in an urban area it takes a while to see dark skies for us.
     
  4. fin azvandi

    fin azvandi Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 12, 2011
    South Bend, IN
    We drove about half an hour out of town last night and saw lots of meteors, but I didn't get lucky enough to photograph one. :-(
     
  5. phidauex

    phidauex Mu-43 Regular

    76
    Jun 17, 2013
    Boulder, CO
    Nice shot! Meteors are so ephemeral, they are hard to photograph. Your shot is nice and clean though - you should take the 13 that show tracks, and use one of the star-stacking applications or Photoshop CS to do a composite - one of the lightness blending modes would work well - that preserves the brightest pixel out of each of the images, meaning you won't blow out the stars, but all the faint tracks will pop through. Your source image is perfect for it.

    I've really found that compositing is the trick to getting really impressive astrophotography (and it isn't a cheat - even researchers use composites to generate usable images).

    EDIT: Or share the raw images as a post-processing challenge and let us try our hand at it! ;)
     
  6. tradesmith45

    tradesmith45 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Dec 13, 2012
    Oregon
    Sorry to hear that. Where did you point the camera?

    Out of nearly 300 captures, I only got 6 w/ meteors. And that was w/ a 12mm!

    Read a post on an astro site by a fellow who was renting 2 cameras to add to his 2 so he could have 4 going at once. Until yesterday, I thought that was overkill.

    I did try to follow his advice about where to point the camera but was off a bit. He suggested placing short side of the frame on the Perseids radiant point & orienting away from that.

    But it was also surprising how many meteors were NOT coming out of the Perseids.
     
  7. tradesmith45

    tradesmith45 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Dec 13, 2012
    Oregon
    Wow, Cool idea!

    Thanks, hadn't thought of that.

    I've got a trial copy of Nebulosity I could try that with. Unfortunately at least for this suggestion, I took breaks from the Perseids (so I could wake up :smile:) to do other night photos so I have several series that look at slightly different parts of the sky. I'll look through to see how many if any frames w/ meteors are in a single or sufficiently overlapping series.

    BTW, what stacker are you using?
     
  8. MajorMagee

    MajorMagee Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 24, 2011
    Dayton, OH
    We have a lot of sky glow here. I only saw one meteor all night, and the only track I was able to get in a photo was a passing plane.

    P8120115sm.
    E-P5 with PL20mm at f/4, 60 sec, ISO 200 heavily post processed to cut down the sky glow.
     
  9. Djarum

    Djarum Super Moderator

    Dec 15, 2009
    Huntsville, AL, USA
    Jason
    The Perseids meteors start from the Perseus constellation. From my experience though with this event, generally the meteors I see are usually well above or left/right of the constellation. They just track as if they are radiating from that constellation. Its been crummy weather here, so I haven't gone out to look, let alone take pictures.
     
  10. tradesmith45

    tradesmith45 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Dec 13, 2012
    Oregon
    Well phidauex, I'm in luck. One stack of 22 frames includes 3 meteors & better yet none are on the edge of the frame where stacking might nip them out. And even better yet, I just happened to shoot 4 dark frames for this sequence - Perseius was watching over me!

    When I go to bed tonight, I'll turn my trial copy of Nebulosity loose on these to see what I get. Hopefully, it will be done by morning. Unfortunately the trial copy water mark is pretty heavy but this might give me enough reason to get the full version.

    Thanks again!
     
  11. beanedsprout

    beanedsprout Mu-43 Veteran

    429
    Apr 13, 2013
    north central Ohio
    Love it! Too many clouds here. Stayed up and then drove an hour away to break free of them. Didn't see any. I'll try again soon but I'm really disappointed about Sunday/Monday
     
  12. beanedsprout

    beanedsprout Mu-43 Veteran

    429
    Apr 13, 2013
    north central Ohio
    9505155317_2000ea484b_h.

    That's all I got. Maybe next time. :(
     
  13. tradesmith45

    tradesmith45 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Dec 13, 2012
    Oregon
    Stacked 3 Meteors

    This might be my 5th ever stack & only 2nd using a trial version of Nebulosity but got something. This is an untrimmed stack of 3 frames (w/ Nebulosity hash marks).

    When stacked, every pixel is averaged so the meteor track gets dimmer - not good. One meteor about 1/3rd of the way out to the lower rt. corner is barely visible. But the noise reduction is terrific. Started simple w/ PP. Before stacking - CA & strong devignette corrections. After stacking, added definition, color correction (farmer's green vapor light somewhere), contrast & brighten.

    OMD, M.Z12 @ f2 25 sec. ISO 3200.

    [​IMG][/url]
    Stack 2 by tradesmith45, on Flickr[/IMG]
     
  14. RT_Panther

    RT_Panther Mu-43 Legend

    May 4, 2011
    Texas
    I still like it! :smile:

     
  15. MajorMagee

    MajorMagee Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 24, 2011
    Dayton, OH
    I went out again early this morning. Lower humidity so had a bit less sky glow. Saw 5 meteors over an hour and a half, but the camera was tied up doing it's dark field subtraction each time I spotted one. I guess I should have brought two cameras to provide continuous coverage.
     
  16. tradesmith45

    tradesmith45 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Dec 13, 2012
    Oregon
    I suggest turning dark field subtraction off for this. As you found just getting an image is the main challenge. I shot at ISO 3200 for everything & as you can see noise was surprising low even w/ auto noise reduction off.

    But 2 cameras is a great advantage even w/ no noise reduction. You can shoot 2 parts of the sky.

    I had my one camera set up w/ an intervalometer giving a 25 sec. exposure every 30 sec. I allowed 5 sec. for the sensor to cool down a bit & the camera to write the image to the card but that was too much down time so missed many. I'll allow only a couple sec. next time.

    With the 12mm lens, 25 sec is as long as you can go w/o noticeable star trails. If you haven't found it already, the calculator on this page will give you the max exposure for various lenses: Get your stars right! A tool for exposure time estimation to avoid star-trailing effects. - ALPINE PHOTOGRAPHY NEWS
     
  17. tradesmith45

    tradesmith45 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Dec 13, 2012
    Oregon
    BTW, Here's a little more detail on a helpful way of reducing light pollution by playing w/ PP of these captures that might help w/ your shot. Even though I was in a very rural location, a green cast from farmers lights still showed up in some of my photos & PP tended to increase its visibility.

    While I've seen plenty of meteor showers, I'm a total newbie at photographing them. I'm guessing more experienced astro shooter on this forum have known this step for a long time and may be able to add to this suggestion.

    I'm using Aperture for PP so these steps will have to be translated into what ever your using. Called up the global color correction adjustment. In my case the light pollution shows as a green cast in dark areas that gets stronger closer to the horizon. So I select the green channel & use the eye dropper to select a small spot of the specific green to reduce. After selecting, I turn Saturation of that color to -100 & its gone. It only affects the polluted part of the sky.

    Did have to be careful to select the right area that had the exact green I needed to remove. And there is till some dark purple left that I removed too.

    Here's before & the previous stack is what the after looks like. Hope this helps.
    [​IMG][/url]
    _8120115 by tradesmith45, on Flickr[/IMG]
     
  18. MajorMagee

    MajorMagee Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 24, 2011
    Dayton, OH
    All the shots from last night were useless in that I failed to notice the dew settling on the lens. When I got them on the computer the stars all look like Christmas lights do when I take my glasses off (enlarged and speckled colored orbs).
     
  19. beanedsprout

    beanedsprout Mu-43 Veteran

    429
    Apr 13, 2013
    north central Ohio
    Ok so I've found it to be really hard focusing on stars. Do I just use manual focus assist and zoom in on a star until it looks circular and leave it at that? I've found that infinity focus is far from what it needs to be at to capture anything. Is there an easier way?
     
  20. tradesmith45

    tradesmith45 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Dec 13, 2012
    Oregon
    Focusing on Stars

    You pretty much got it right. My current workflow for the 12mm (my only f2 lens) is:
    -find a bright star in MF mode, focus ring pulled back.
    -start focusing w/ focus assist @ 5-7x.
    -Refine focus usually @ 10x.
    -Check test shot @ 10-14x.
    -Don't touch the lens after that.

    I find lens aberrations make 10x focus assist barely helpful compared to 7x. 14x is pretty useless for stars w/ this lens for me.

    YMMV