shower the people

Since I live out in the boonies, I was given the assignment last night to try to shoot the Perseid meteor shower.

After photographing the Bears’ practice in far south suburban Bourbonnais, I was planning on heading west to get as far away from the city lights as possible and finding a barn or other structure to use as foreground to add to a sky full of meteors streaking past.

However, the assignment desk called and notified me that they had found out about a group called the South West Astronomy Observers Group who were going to be gathering at a hang gliding field in Chebanse, about 30 minutes southwest of Bourbonnais.

That information saved the assignment.

First off, I didn’t realize that this meteor shower would consist of, at tops, 100 meteors an hour.

Secondly, last night I only saw one or two every 5 minutes.

Thirdly, I didn’t have a tripod or cable release, so I was shooting 30-second exposures while resting my camera on my shoe that I had taken off and set on the ground.

The cool thing about the 30-second exposures was that I was able to get images of the activity of the group while still picking up some stars. As an added bonus, the astronomy buffs used little red lights to check their telescopes.

Despite all that, I still had a blast, learned a ton about the night sky and even though I failed to capture a meteor, I think that I captured the experience.

© 2009 Chicago Tribune/Scott Strazzante

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7 Responses to “shower the people”

  1. did you predict somehow this unpredictable composition? it’s hard for me to imagine anticipating random movements of people to get the right setting on the frame, wait a moment… while i was writing this i think i got it, you composed the picture using the telescopes as a reference point, and then the person on the right is you, right(?)! what can I say, I’m speechless…

    • Eloy, yes I did frame the image with the telescopes but no, I am not in the photo. I was sitting on the ground behind my shoe-pod.
      Randomness rules.

  2. Love this one, Scott. I know the pain of these shoots (pitch black, subjects won’t allow any lights because their eyes need to adjust to the darkness), but it’s a fun challenge.

  3. lots to love about this shot, starting with the obvious sitting ghost. thanks for sharing!

  4. wow, this is amazing! This is why you’re such a super star photographer. You really captured the whole experience in one frame.

  5. I don’t know WHAT to think of this picture… But as with all your pictures… you give each one “life”… this one is no exception… You certainly are a master at your craft … you’re a fun photographer to follow on the internet…

  6. Wow, this is beautiful. What an experience!

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