So there is a meteor shower on August 12th in British Columbia, Canada, and I was wondering if there are any tips on taking photos of the meteor shower with a smartphone? Or should I simply take a video instead? I can't afford a professional camera unfortunately.
The meteor shower is the annual Perseid Meteor Shower each year at about this same time.
Cellphones aren't ideal. While I cannot rule out the possibility of capture a meteor using a phone, it is unlikely to capture very many. This has to do with the unpredictable nature of the meteors and the techniques used to capture them (basically a form of lucky-imaging.)
The typical technique to photograph meteor showers is to:
- Place the camera on a tripod. You'll be taking long 30-second exposures. Hand-holding the camera isn't possible.
- Use the widest lens you have available. You cannot predict when or where a meteor will appear. You can only predict that it's direction of travel will be roughly "away" from the radiant point. But meteors do not necessarily appear at the radiant... they can appear anywhere.
- Set the camera to shoot 30-second exposures ... continuously. E.g. put the camera in continuous burst mode (e.g. typically used for action photography) but set the 30-second exposure duration. Use a wired remote trigger that has a lock-switch on the shutter button and 'lock' the shutter so it takes shot after shot after shot.
- While a meteor can appear at any time, the best times tend to be in the hours before dawn ... this is because that's when you are on the side of the planet crashing into the comet dust.
Given the need to run continuous long exposures for hours on end ... cellphones usually don't offer a way to do that. If your cellphone does allow for enough manual control to support this technique, then you're in luck..