Friday, August 13, 2010

D700 Shoots the Perseids in 2010

Those who have been reading me for a while will remember my pathetic attempt to shoot the Perseids last year. Not even a sniff of an image. I managed to see two meteor sin half an hour and basically gave up.

Tonight, I looked for a few minutes in Karen’s back yard, which allows a very good view of the dark sky and the Milky Way, being in a small town with minimal light pollution and I saw two meteors within 10 minutes. And these things were bright! Both were in the western sky. We even saw a satellite moving through the North Eastern sky, almost touching the star at the very tip of the ladle in the Big Dipper. Very cool.

I left around 11pm and stopped on the way back at a spot with a wide open field facing south and west with a nice view of the Milky Way, although not as contrasty as Karen’s view because it was much closer to the city. I looked at the sky for a while and decided to take a shot … I set up the D700 to catch part of the Milky Way (which looks terrific on film) and set exposures around 10 seconds at 1600 ISO and f/2.8. The 50mm 1.8 was used, although I realize as I am typing this that the Tamron 28-75 is wider and would have been a better choice … DUH!

Anyway, I caught 3 meteors on film tonight! And that’s out of 12 that I saw! Amazing evening. The Perseids are just going nuts tonight.

Here is my first and best image. This was one incredibly bright meteor … enough that I was able to add a lot of contrast and get everything to stand out. What I found weird is that, with the sky set to black using the ACR white balance tool, the streaks were all yellow. And so was the Milky Way. I’m not really sure what color it all should be, but it looks fine this way … to me at least :-)


Remember to click on the images to see the 800px versions. Much clearer view of the meteor.

The second image barely caught the meteor and it was much fainter, hence the lower contrast to keep the meteor streak visible.

DSC_5034_perseids_2010[1] And the third is the faintest of all. In fact, I’m not actually sure that I saw this one live. It is very, very faint. I pulled it up along with about 2.3 billion stars :-)

DSC_5093_perseids_2010[1] This was an immensely successful evening … 12 meteors, 3 on film and a satellite to top it off.

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