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Shooting stars: Pro tips to catching a meteor with your camera

Perseid meteor shower

Nathan Trail

Nathan Trail took this photo of the Perseid meteor shower over Maryland on August 12th using KPCC's tips. Try your camera out on the showers and send them to us at

Shooting for the sky? KPCC's Mae Ryan has some expert photography advice for trying to capture the Perseid meteor shower.

Step 1: Put down your iPhone. That little guy isn't man enough for the meteors. (Caveat: The app Slow Shutter Cam miiiight work, but the odds aren't great)

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 L.A. 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.


Space rocks: The best way to see the Perseid meteor shower

The Annual Perseid Meteor Shower Offers Celestial Show In Night Sky

Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Perseid meteors streak across the sky near Rogers Spring in the Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Nevada in August 2008. The meteor display, known as the Perseid shower because it appears to radiate from the constellation Perseus in the northeastern sky, is a result of Earth's orbit passing through debris from the comet Swift-Tuttle.

The "shooting star"-studded Perseid meteor shower is expected to wow earthlings on Saturday night with hundreds of ancient, vaporized, dust-specks streaking the atmosphere at more then 100,000 miles per hour.

Available to anyone with a clear, dark sky, the only thing keeping you from the show is rampant air and light pollution, and whatever else you may be doing at the time.

This event is ideal star-gazing for the lazy. The Perseids, peaking late Saturday Aug. 11/early Sunday Aug. 12, provide the perfect opportunity to take in heavenly bodies sans telescope or fancy equipment. Seeing as much sky as possible is the goal, and laying down to look up is encouraged.

The Perseids are a fan favorite among celestial groupies, a popularity Senior Editor of Astronomy magazine, Michael E. Bakich, attributes to the annual spectacle's four unique elements: