Through the Viewfinder
And What Alice Found There
On Wednesday night, Perseids meteor shower was visible across the skies, and I was lucky enough to witness it! The meteors are the debris from Comet Swift Tuttle, and every year at the end of July/beginning of August Earth passes through the debris and this is when we see the meteors. I went out at 10pm and set up at Helsington Church along with quite a few other spectators. The sky looked amazing - no clouds at all so we had a perfectly clear view of the stars. At first, we didn't see any meteors so I spent some time setting up my camera and taking some test shots. Then we saw the International Space Station making its way across the skies some time around 10.30pm which was exciting! After that, more and more meteors started making an appearance but they were so quick it was difficult to get any photos! I set me camera up for a 10 minute exposure to try and capture some star trails and while it was doing its thing I lay down on a blanket to look for more meteors. Some of them were so huge they just looked like giant streaks of fire lighting up the skies - but I suppose that is what they are after all!
After about an hour I still hadn't managed to get any photos of the meteors as they were appearing all over the sky and wherever I pointed my camera, they seemed to appear in the opposite direction! Instead, I managed to get a few photos of the Milky Way - I was really pleased with these as it's a photo I've been wanting to get for ages but never seemed to get the chance! By midnight we'd seen quite a few meteors so we decided to pack up and come home. However, when we got home I noticed the stars were still clearly visible from the garden, despite the light pollution from the nearby town centre. I decided to have another go, so I set up in the back garden and started a 10 minute exposure to get some star trails. Meanwhile, I lay down on a sun lounger looking up at the sky. I could very faintly see the Milky Way and just loved sitting and watching more and more meteors fly across the skies. There was one point where I saw about 5 meteors in the space of a minute - it was amazing! I then attempted a 45 minute exposure so I could get longer star trails and more change of capturing a shooting star, but unfortunately my camera made it to 30 minutes before the battery ran out! It had been on 100% when I started but now I know just how much battery they need when doing such long exposures! By this point it was 2.30am so I decided to pack up and call it a night.
Although I didn't get any photos of the meteors I'm happy with what I did get. I wish I had managed to get some longer star trails but I know for next time that I need to be more prepared with my batteries! I can't wait for more clear nights as we get into winter so I can experiment even further with night sky photography.
I will leave you with this image taken in March 2015. It was again up at Helsington Church (one of my favourite locations for star photography) and as you can see, I managed to get a shooting star!