This year the 'Tears of Saint Lawrence' or Perseids will reach their maximum intensity on the night of August 12-13. So much so that, according to experts, on that night up to 100 meteors per hour could be registered. In addition, this year this phenomenon will be able to be seen quite well, since clear skies and the waning phase of the moon are expected, which will favor the vision of these celestial bodies. Therefore, this year we are facing a perfect occasion to photograph the Perseids .
However, not everyone has a reflex or mirrorless camera to take a picture of this phenomenon. So we thought it would be interesting to tell you how you can take pictures of the Perseid Meteor Shower with your mobile camera . The better the mobile, the better results we will obtain, obviously. But we do need that the device has some specific characteristics and take into account some factors that can affect the taking of the photograph. Let's see them.
You will need a dark place and a tripod
When choosing a site to see the Perseid rain, we must take light pollution into account. We will have to find a place that is far from the big cities and in which there is as much darkness as possible . If you don't know of any area that meets the requirements, you can use the Darksitefinder website to find the darkest area closest to your location. We will thus avoid the orange glow that all the cities give off in the photos.
The second essential to get good pictures of the Perseids is the tripod . To photograph the Meteor Shower we are going to have to take long exposure photos, so it is not feasible to take them by hand . It is best to use some type of tripod specially designed for the mobile or a tripod for cameras by adding a special support for the mobile.
When taking pictures we must point towards the constellation of Perseus. If you don't know where it is, you can use applications like Stellarium or Sky Map to locate it. To orient yourself a bit, it is worth knowing that it is located to the right of the North Star , which is the star that brightens in the tail of Ursa Minor.
How to photograph the Perseids with your mobile
To get a good photograph of the Perseids we will need to use the manual controls of the mobile camera . It is important that we can change parameters such as exposure time, ISO sensitivity, and focus.
If you have a mobile that includes Professional Mode or Manual Mode you will not have problems. But if the Camera application of your mobile does not include it, you will have to download an application that allows you to touch these parameters.
Once with the correct application, let's see how we have to configure the parameters to try to capture the best photo of the Perseids. The ideal would be to use an angle as open as possible, to capture the largest amount of sky, but since we are going to use a mobile, it is best to take the photo with the main sensor , since it is always the brightest.
As for the parameters, let's start with the Exposure Time . There are several rules that we can apply to calculate it. We can even buy an application like PhotoPills to calculate the time needed. However, we can do a little calculation to guide us. This consists of dividing 600 by the focal length of the camera of our mobile. How do we know the focal length? We will have to resort to the specifications of the device.
Have you not been able to find this information? No problem. Set the exposure time between 20 and 30 seconds if your mobile allows it. With this exposure time the results will almost always be good.
We continue with ISO Sensitivity . In night photography it is common to make the mistake of raising the ISO too much, which usually causes noise to appear. So the most recommended thing is that to take photos of the Perseids we set the camera with a low ISO, between 100 and 800 ISO . Keep in mind that mobile cameras do not manage ISO as well as a mirrorless or reflex camera, so the lower ISO counts, let's use it better.
Finally we have to configure the Focus . If we let the camera focus automatically we may find ourselves with a totally out of focus photo, since the automatic focus will go crazy to try to focus at night. To solve this we must put the focus on manual and focus on a distant object , such as a tree or a mountain. Another option is to aim at the brightest and closest star and move the focus until the light from the star looks as small as possible.
The truth is that the subject of the approach is so delicate that, as they say, "each teacher has his booklet." Depending on the photographer you ask, they will tell you one thing or another, so it is best to get to the site early and do some tests.
And finally, you are going to need a lot of patience . Night photography is tricky, so we won't always get the perfect shot the first time. Following these instructions, go changing the subject of focus and slightly varying some parameters to get the photo you are looking for. If you are patient you can get a really spectacular photo. And if you don't get that photo you were looking for, at least you will be able to see the meteor shower live and retain it in your retina forever. It is very worth it.