Jennifer Wu: Perseid Meteor Shower

Excerpt from Jennifer Wu on taking the eventual cover photo for Photography Night Sky
Webster Chang Webster Chang
August 10, 2015

By Jennifer Wu, Photography Night Sky

I wanted to photograph meteors from Olmstead Point in Yosemite, high in the mountains, for more stars in the sky and a good view down a canyon to Half Dome.

The image on the cover of the book was photographed on August 12, 2010, at the peak of the Perseid meteor shower. The showers are visible annually from mid-July through the peak, around August 12 and 13 every year. The best viewing is in the morning hours, before it becomes too bright to see them, but they are visible all night.

Photo for the cover of Photography Night Sky, by Jennifer Wu

I had photographed the Perseids for a few days the previous year, and while I had some meteor shots, I didn’t get the big one I was hoping for. There were two really big meteors those nights, but I was pointing the camera in a different direction or changing a lens.

For this image, I headed out to photograph the meteor shower, and stayed up all night for several nights in a row. For two nights until dawn, I was at Olmstead Point in Yosemite National Park. I set up two cameras pointing in different directions with the intervalometer set to a 2-second interval for continuous photographing. The night I photographed this, a friend called me while I was taking this shot. We were both watching the meteors and both of us saw a really large meteor at the same time and “Wow!” It was one of three really bright meteors that I saw for the whole event, and this time I was pointing the camera in the direction of the meteor. When I went to look at the image on the back of the camera, I screamed “I got it!” I was so excited, as I had wanted this for so long!

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