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How to shoot great photos of the Geminid meteor shower

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52149 full

We have some expert photography advice for trying to capture the Geminid meteor shower. It peaks Thursday night, Dec. 13 and can also be seen Friday, Dec. 14.

Step 1: Put down your iPhone. That little guy isn't man enough for the meteors. (Caveat: The app "Slow Shutter Cam" miiiight work if the stars are aligned properly — so to speak.)

Step 2: Bring out your digital camera.  Your best bet is a digital DSLR camera, but you can also try out your point-and-shoot if it has manual settings.

Step 3: Put your camera on a tripod.  To get all the beautiful streaks, you'll need an exposure that's at least 30 seconds long — so your camera has to be still — very, very still.

Step 4: Try to find a location that's a little further from the city.  All the lights in Los Angeles will drown out those meteors, and your image won't be as pretty.

Step 5: Set your exposure for at least 30 seconds. Set your camera to "B" mode if you've got it.  That will let you keep your shutter open for as long as you desire.

Step 6: Set your aperture to somewhere between f2.8 and f5.6. The longer you want to keep your shutter open, the higher you can get your  f-stop.  If you want your shutter open for 3 hours, then you can go up to f16.

Step 7: Set your ISO to between 100 and 400.

Step 8: Set your focus to infinity… and beyond.

Step 9: Take some test shots. Check out if your image is under- or overexposed, then adjust your aperture or shutter accordingly.

Step 10:  If you have a cable release, you're going to get clear images without any motion blur. If you don't have a cable release, then press that shutter down reeeeally carefully so you don't move the camera while it's exposing the stars.

Step 11: Breathe. Relax. Take in the shower. Let that shutter stay open and don't touch the camera while it's exposing all those streaks.

Step 12:  If you're on B mode, then press that shutter down again really, really carefully.  The longer you keep your camera exposing, the more streaks you're going to get.

Step 13: Send us your pictures!  Email us at

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