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Photographing the Perseid meteor shower

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Stephen Blue of Deltaville used patience, expert photography skills, and an all-night campout to capture this remarkable photo of the Perseid meteor shower on August 13.

Stephen Blue of Deltaville took the photo above at about 3:30 a.m. on Saturday, August 13, at a place called Hole in the Wall—the inlet from the Chesapeake Bay in between Gwynn’s Island and mainland Mathews.

“There’s a small beach island there I spent the night on to capture the Perseid meteor shower,” said Blue. “The moon was pretty bright and did not set until almost 1 a.m., and it wasn’t until then that I was able to see most of the meteors.”

Blue set his camera on a tripod with an ultra-wide angle lens to capture as much sky as possible. “I framed the scene, in this case, the grass and beach in the foreground looking east across the bay with the Milky Way in the sky, and hoped to get a good meteor to pass through the frame,” he said. “You can’t just react to shoot a meteor, they’re too quick. You have to be capturing when they occur. I set the camera to expose each photo for 20 seconds, and continually shoot shot after shot, or three photos every minute.”

In all, Blue recorded over 1,000 photos during the night. “I just sat back and enjoyed the show. Whenever I’d see a meteor pass where the camera was pointed, I’d mark the file for finding it later. After an amount of time in any one spot, I’d move the camera somewhere else to set up another scene.

“It takes a lot of patience, some planning, and a bit of luck to get shots like the one pictured above,” said Blue. “When it burst overhead I was worried it was outside the view of the camera. Luckily, it lined up perfect.”

posted 08.24.2016

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