How I Got the Shot: David Kingham on Snowy Range Perseids

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The Perseids is one of the most active meteor showers in the sky, and it acts as an annual challenge for photographers wishing to capture its majesty. The image above is entitled Snowy Range Perseids, and it was created in 2012 by astrophotography expert David Kingham. In this installment of How I Got the Shot, David shares the gear he took along on the shoot, the settings he used, and he provides crucial tips on how to carry out the post-production processing.

Editor's Note: this is a guest blog post by David Kingham

Gear Used

The Vision

Growing up in Colorado, I was blessed with dark skies, and I witnessed many great meteor showers. I knew I wanted to capture a meteor shower, but I knew that a single shot with one or two meteors would not capture the essence of watching a meteor shower over an entire night.

The Plan

To achieve my vision, I knew that I would have to take exposures over the entire night during the Perseids meteor shower. This required a lot of patience, and a whole lot of battery power.

I set up my camera in the Snowy Range Mountains in Wyoming, just after dusk. I set my camera to take 30-second exposures at ISO 3200, f/2.8, and set my Shutterboss intervalometer to take continuous exposures until I stopped it seven hours later as the sun was rising.

When I came home I downloaded and reviewed the hundreds of images captured to find the exposures that contained meteors, and I was happy to find 22 meteors and an Iridium flare.

Post-Processing

I used Adobe Lightroom to sift through all of the images and to do the raw conversions. I then selected all of the shots with meteors and loaded them into Photoshop as layers. I then rotated each layer to correct their position in the sky. This is due to the radiant of the meteor shower changing throughout the night, because of the earth's rotation. I then used one frame as my base and masked out all of the other layers to reveal only the meteors. I also used one image that was taken during twilight to slightly brighten the foreground.