Persistent with Perseids

JimFox

Moderator
Staff member
Well, this from back in August at the Devil's Tower in Wyoming. I had taken my 9 year old granddaughter up with me so we could watch and capture the Perseids Meteor shower. It seemed like most of the meteors were away from Devil's Tower on that night, but after going through them, I found enough to compile.

The base layer here has a meteor in it and the side of the tower is lit up by rock climbers. I thought that added some nice extra visual interest.

I had 3 camera's up and running to capture the meteors on this night. This one was my Nikon D810 with a 50mm f1.8 lens. I wanted a shot where the tower was a bit more prominent in the image then it is with a 14mm. Getting closer wasn't really an option as I wanted to be able to shoot next to my Jeep in case my granddaughter got tired, and also moving in closer for this angle the trees quickly start to block the tower. So the 50mm seemed like a good fast option.

Now, there was a small problem with it, because it's 50mm, I had to limit my shutter speed to 10 sec so that the stars didn't start trailing. Which, if you see some of those really short meteors, I thought they were short because of the 10 seconds some how cutting them off with the opening and closing of the shutter the meteors were just too fast and I was losing half of the meteors. So initially I didn't even look that much at these since so many were so short. But when I went back, all of the short ones have a beginning and end to them, there is no sharp cut off. I decided my initial thoughts were wrong, it's just there was a ton of super short meteors that night. Also a couple of them actually have a curve in the middle of them like they hit something or went around something. It was very strange indeed.

One last thing, the night sky was pretty odd too, lot's going on in it. There was not one uniform color, lot's of air glow, etc. So I just went with it. :)

Anyway, this is what I ended up with. :)

All comments are welcome,

Jim

_D814994_dw.jpg
 

Ben Egbert

Forum Helper
Staff member
This is an interesting image Jim. I would not know how to make a composite with such a busy star field. I like the light on the rock. I am curious about the sky glow, could it be faint northern lights?
 

JimFox

Moderator
Staff member
This is an interesting image Jim. I would not know how to make a composite with such a busy star field. I like the light on the rock. I am curious about the sky glow, could it be faint northern lights?
Thanks Ben! It's a light of close in painting at 100 to 200% for the meteors to get them in. Not hard, but meticulous and time consuming.

Some of the glow could be from Northern Lights. The Devil's Tower certainly is north. In fact this winter when I am in Colorado, I will be keeping an eye watching for reports of the Northern Lights going off, and the Devi's Tower is one place I have thought of to go drive up to and photograph them, or attempt to capture them.
 

AlanLichty

Moderator
Interesting result - were you expecting the meteors to have a greenish tint to them? I was sort of expecting them to go all the way across the image but I have never tried shooting something like these so don't have a point of reference.
 

JimFox

Moderator
Staff member
Interesting result - were you expecting the meteors to have a greenish tint to them? I was sort of expecting them to go all the way across the image but I have never tried shooting something like these so don't have a point of reference.
Thanks Alan.

No, I wasn't expecting any color as they can range from green to reds, orange, yellow. They can sometimes look like a streaking rainbow.

What I was expecting was for them all to be longer. I have shot lot's of meteors, but until that night I never saw such short little meteors like half of the ones I got were.
 

Tom Narwid

Well-Known Member
Well, this from back in August at the Devil's Tower in Wyoming. I had taken my 9 year old granddaughter up with me so we could watch and capture the Perseids Meteor shower. It seemed like most of the meteors were away from Devil's Tower on that night, but after going through them, I found enough to compile.

The base layer here has a meteor in it and the side of the tower is lit up by rock climbers. I thought that added some nice extra visual interest.

I had 3 camera's up and running to capture the meteors on this night. This one was my Nikon D810 with a 50mm f1.8 lens. I wanted a shot where the tower was a bit more prominent in the image then it is with a 14mm. Getting closer wasn't really an option as I wanted to be able to shoot next to my Jeep in case my granddaughter got tired, and also moving in closer for this angle the trees quickly start to block the tower. So the 50mm seemed like a good fast option.

Now, there was a small problem with it, because it's 50mm, I had to limit my shutter speed to 10 sec so that the stars didn't start trailing. Which, if you see some of those really short meteors, I thought they were short because of the 10 seconds some how cutting them off with the opening and closing of the shutter the meteors were just too fast and I was losing half of the meteors. So initially I didn't even look that much at these since so many were so short. But when I went back, all of the short ones have a beginning and end to them, there is no sharp cut off. I decided my initial thoughts were wrong, it's just there was a ton of super short meteors that night. Also a couple of them actually have a curve in the middle of them like they hit something or went around something. It was very strange indeed.

One last thing, the night sky was pretty odd too, lot's going on in it. There was not one uniform color, lot's of air glow, etc. So I just went with it. :)

Anyway, this is what I ended up with. :)

All comments are welcome,

Jim

View attachment 33878
Well done Jim!
 

Jordan Marsh

Well-Known Member
That's really cool Jim. I'm jealous of your available foreground haha. I had less luck than you did with the amount that I saw but I did notice the same kind of short streaks. In 4 nights I only saw 1 long, slow moving bright one which of course happened right as I was setting up and I looked up for a second. A good kick in the pants when the rest of the night was pretty low activity for me :D I think the green colors are sweet though! Are you planning on trying the Geminids this year?
 

JimFox

Moderator
Staff member
That's really cool Jim. I'm jealous of your available foreground haha. I had less luck than you did with the amount that I saw but I did notice the same kind of short streaks. In 4 nights I only saw 1 long, slow moving bright one which of course happened right as I was setting up and I looked up for a second. A good kick in the pants when the rest of the night was pretty low activity for me :D I think the green colors are sweet though! Are you planning on trying the Geminids this year?
Thanks Jordan, that means a lot!

Yeah, I have been fortunate to be able to get a bit picky about the foregrounds on these now a days and choose something that is interesting and hopefully a bit different.

Thanks for confirming that you had also seen these short meteors. I was wondering for a bit if I had UFO's or bugs were flying in front of the camera and reflecting some green light somehow. :)

Thanks for the reminder about the Geminids. With so much going on I hadn't thought about them, but since you brought it up, I am for sure going to go shoot them. I will be back in Colorado then, so I need to figure out a good place that I can capture them at. Are you going to go after them?
 

Jordan Marsh

Well-Known Member
Thanks for the reminder about the Geminids. With so much going on I hadn't thought about them, but since you brought it up, I am for sure going to go shoot them. I will be back in Colorado then, so I need to figure out a good place that I can capture them at. Are you going to go after them?
Yeah I think I'll give it a go. The summer months on the east coast are so humid which made the Perseids tough, but the winter nights here are 100% better. I think I've got a good spot picked out so we'll see :)
 

Bob

Well-Known Member
Jim,
First, thanks for the message about this shot because I probably would not have seen it. This is a very interesting composite. The many meteorites tend to scatter the eye in too many directions and make the image a bit busy. I think one or two would be more compelling of an image with a better center of interest. I personally don't care for the green tint in the sky. I would think that could be corrected very easily in PS but maybe you like it in the natural color. Do you have any idea where the green tint came from? Love the inclusion of the light on the tower.
Bob
 

JimFox

Moderator
Staff member
Jim,
First, thanks for the message about this shot because I probably would not have seen it. This is a very interesting composite. The many meteorites tend to scatter the eye in too many directions and make the image a bit busy. I think one or two would be more compelling of an image with a better center of interest. I personally don't care for the green tint in the sky. I would think that could be corrected very easily in PS but maybe you like it in the natural color. Do you have any idea where the green tint came from? Love the inclusion of the light on the tower.
Bob
Thanks Bob, I figured this one might get lost in the shuffle.

I am used to for Meteor showers adding as many of them as possible. But your idea of just including a couple of them is compelling, I will have to look at it some more and see.

As for the color I hear you. :) When I tried to color correct it to a more blue of a sky, I was not able to do it without the stars also turning blue. The color of the sky is actually a blend between a more green version of the sky and as much of a blue as I could get without too much blue in the stars and then I adjusted the opactity on the green version to add in the blue cast to the point where the stars were just still staying white. Maybe because the greenish cast is pretty commonplace I have gotten used to it. I know a green cast sky used to really bother me. In this case it's down to where blue stars bother me more, so I used that as my guideline.

Airglow is the source of the green color I am pretty sure. Ben mentioned Northern Lights, I was really north in this case, so perhaps that contributed a bit to?
 

Bob

Well-Known Member
Thanks Bob, I figured this one might get lost in the shuffle.

I am used to for Meteor showers adding as many of them as possible. But your idea of just including a couple of them is compelling, I will have to look at it some more and see.

As for the color I hear you. :) When I tried to color correct it to a more blue of a sky, I was not able to do it without the stars also turning blue. The color of the sky is actually a blend between a more green version of the sky and as much of a blue as I could get without too much blue in the stars and then I adjusted the opactity on the green version to add in the blue cast to the point where the stars were just still staying white. Maybe because the greenish cast is pretty commonplace I have gotten used to it. I know a green cast sky used to really bother me. In this case it's down to where blue stars bother me more, so I used that as my guideline.

Airglow is the source of the green color I am pretty sure. Ben mentioned Northern Lights, I was really north in this case, so perhaps that contributed a bit to?
Jim, I understand the constraints. I was think something more simple. Have you tried just adjusting the color temp and then masking out the part you don't want to change? If that doesn't work what about a color adjustment layer? I just can't get past a green sky there must be a way to make that adjustment.
Bob
 

JimFox

Moderator
Staff member
Jim,
I played with the image a bit and this is what I came up with. What do you think?
Bob

View attachment 33968
You did really good here Bob. You did get the green out and the stars just barely have a blue tint, and maybe thats how blue my stars are, its just with the greenish sky contrasting them they appear whiter. I would say I need to go back to the drawing board. Thanks for taking the time and showing this alternate view.
 

Bob

Well-Known Member
You did really good here Bob. You did get the green out and the stars just barely have a blue tint, and maybe thats how blue my stars are, its just with the greenish sky contrasting them they appear whiter. I would say I need to go back to the drawing board. Thanks for taking the time and showing this alternate view.
Jim,
Just a thought but I am more of a traditionalist. I just like the sky to be blue. However, the greenish tint turn out to be more cyan the green. I got the change by adjusting cyan not green. I was surprised to see more cyan. My only conclusion was that the combination of blue and cyan made everything look green.
Bob
 
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