Top tips to capturing the upcoming meteor shower from a photography expert

By Will Eades August 11, 2022
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Here’s how to capture The Perseids meteor shower on film.

With the consistent show of nature’s wonders from thunderbolts to meteor showers and fireballs, there has never been a better time to ensure we capture these epic moments in the best way possible. But how can you ensure you snap the best picture at the best possible time to encapsulate these meaningful moments in nature? As an expert storm and nature photographer, I’d like to share my top tips for capturing the upcoming meteor shower from my experience. 

 1. Get to know the meteor shower
Initially you want to know when a meteor shower will peak – this is the night predicted to produce the most meteors. This can be achieved using astro apps such as ’Skyguide’ to help you plan your night out and compose your shot. I also use ‘Windy’ to predict how clear the night will be. In an ideal world, we want to work with clear, dark skies for best results. Take a headlamp when setting up in dark locations. 

 2. Always shoot Astro
Using the fastest lens you can, always shoot astro. The Nikon f/2.8 and f/1.8 give amazing results for astro with their superior light gathering abilities. Stopping down from the Nikon f/1.8 to f/2.0, or f/2.2 for example, will reduce vignetting. 

 3. Use an ultra-wide lens
Shoot with an ultra-wide lens to capture more of the sky and increase your chance of a meteor landing in the frame. I use the Nikkor Z 14-24mm f/2.8 S and the Nikkor Z 20mm f/1.8 S for the majority of my astro work.

Related: AG Nature Photographer of the Year 2022: Astrophotography shortlist

 4. Have a solid set-up
When setting up your photography area, you want to mount your camera on a sturdy tripod, obtain focus and then turn your autofocus off before you begin shooting.

 5. Check your shutter speed
A shutter speed of 20 seconds or more is preferred to improve your chances of capturing a meteor. Anything longer and you may start to see star trails as the earth rotates on its axis. To counter this, I use a star tracker, which allows me to push my exposure time out to 2–3 minutes.

 6. Adjust your ISO settings
ISO should be high to capture the faint light of the start. I would recommend ISO4000 or higher on a standard tripod set up, and ISO800 – ISO1600 on a star tracker mount.

Related: 7 dazzling astronomy photographs