The Hunt for Shooting Stars in Wyoming [PHOTOS]
Some photos may be better on computer rather than mobile device.
It was a hunt without a gun but a camera. I set traps without nets but with 10 to 30 second exposures. It was a photo shoot and my goal to capture a shooting star from the Perseid meteor shower. I’ve taken plenty of nature and landscape shoots over the years, but this was my first attempt at Astro-photography. I did my homework on the how-to’s by watching a few YouTube tutorials and studying the settings on my camera.
Next was where to go with the least light pollution. I decided to head out towards Pathfinder Reservoir. My family was in town and they wanted to see the meteor shower. We packed up in our SUV which seats 5. There were 5 of us and a dog. We brewed some coffee, packed up some chairs, blankets, and hit the road with our 50 pound dog on our laps.
It was cloudy at first. Far off in the southwest there was a thunderstorm that occasionally lit the underbelly of the sky. It didn’t take long before we were seeing shooting stars. If you have ever watched a meteor showers before it is “Oh, there is one,” then it is gone. “Wow, look at that,” and by the time you look it is gone.
To capture these fleeting glimpses of space rocks burning up in our atmosphere is quite challenging. When we look out into the night’s sky, we have a 180 degree perspective. With a camera, you only have a small window. I’d set up my camera on it tripod and took 5 or 6 shots into the sky hoping to catch something not from this planet. I’d change my position, and there would be a shooting star where I was just looking. It was a game of persistence and tenacity. I kept taking photos.
The moon set behind the horizon and the clouds cleared around 1am. The sky was nearly wide open. The Milky Way stretched across the sky from horizon to horizon. You could the distant glow of Casper. Off in the other direction there was the glow of what we guessed was Rawlins.
As far as our outing, there were plenty of shooting stars. My nephew claimed to see about a 100. He may have been boasting, but there were a lot. Although I wasn’t sure if I had completed my mission to get a photo of a shooting star. I knew I had some good shots of the Big Dipper, the Milky Way, and the moon. I wouldn't know till I downloaded the photos to my computer. It like pulling the blue tape after painting a room. Were the lines straight? Did I get the shot?
When I first looked at the photos, I was happy. Being my first shoot at night, there were some things I would do different next time. As far as my mission, it was a success. There were at least 3 photos with shooting starts. They may not be National Geographic worthy, but it was a worth while and fun Casper adventure.