Night Venture – Perseid Meteor Shower 2016

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Thursday, August 11th, 2016

Tonight is to be the apex of the annual Perseid Meteor Shower and I was going to make an extra effort to capture some of it with my camera this year. From what I have been hearing, this year’s would be the biggest meteor shower in decades. Every year around August, the Earth travels through a debris field left behind by the comet Swift-Tuttle which has it’s own orbit around the sun of about 133 years. The last time the comet passed through our planet’s solar highway was in 1992. The Perseids Meteor Shower event is named after the constellation Perseus which is where the source or “radiant” typically generates about 80-100 meteors an hour. This year’s event will be producing somewhere around 150-200 meteors an hour thanks to the gravitational influence of of our local celestial slugger, Jupiter.

Hidden Valley Trail, Joshua Tree National Park

GPS Coordinates: 34.0123° N, 116.1703° W

I wanted to head out to Amboy, California originally since it appeared to be the best place nearby with almost no light pollution according to Darksitefinder. I changed my mind because I did not know of any interesting foreground subjects in that area, only distant mountain peaks, so I drove out to Joshua Tree National Park instead. I had been to the park a couple of times recently and found numerous locations that I could set up at in the dark. My shoot time was midnight to 4:30 in the morning.

“The winning shot for the night, Joshua Trees and Stone Granite made a great foreground subject.”

I had to focus for the stars and then shift focus for the foreground subjects. I then composited the two shots together in post. My Canon 5D MKII is horrible when it comes to handling noise, so I had to spend a little time doing some quality control and color enhancement to get the galactic arm to pop out more. I wanted to so many more star shots, but I will need to get a newer camera before that. The reason I have not done many of these star shots is due to the horrible noise that is generated with my old 5D MKII. I may not have the money, but I have waited patiently for Canon to get a Real 5D successor on the market and it’s going to be announced at the end of this month!

Anyhow, I’ll keep dreaming of the 5D MKIV and see about turning my clock back around too. I’m exhausted after a night out with the stars.

Until the next travel blog, remember to get out there and “Shoot the Planet!”



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