The Perseid meteor shower peaks early Thursday morning, which means you have the rest of Wednesday to brush up on iPhone camera knowledge in time to snap the perfect photo.
You might think it’s impossible to capture photos of a meteor shower without a fancy DSLR camera. But as it turns out, just by downloading a couple of apps and upping your iPhone’s exposure, you can capture “star trails,” or stunning photos of meteors, using just your iPhone.
Here’s how to use your iPhone for night photography and meteor showers.
This is the first of two programs you will need to create a full fledged star trail. NightCap takes timed intervals of the sky, which you later layer together with a second piece of software.
Light Trails can be activated by clicking the star in the lower left corner.
Then, go to 'settings' under the gear symbol in the top left. iPhone Photography School also touts NightCap for it's stellar customisation options. Make sure the following recommended settings are in place:
1) JPEG or HQ JPEG are selected for the photo type.
2) Timer is on, and set to three-second intervals.
3) Interval Programmer is on, with infinite photos, five second exposure, and fifteen second bursts.
Light pollution can be a huge deterrent for stargazing. The further away from a large city, the better. You want to aim for the darkest, clearest skies possible.
5. After the shower, save photos to your camera roll and download StarStaX to complete the star trails.
Using NightCap will give you the material to make a star trail, but not the complete picture.
What this effectively does is take all the bursts of photos from NightCap, and layer them on top of each other, creating a beautiful star trail. This is a vital step in the process.
Some people might not want to juggle all of these apps. An easy hack for taking plain photos of the night sky is to toggle your phone's camera exposure.
Simply open the camera app, and tap the screen to focus. This will generate a yellow box. Tap again to the side of the box, and the little exposure 'sun' will appear.
Slide the sun up or down to increase or decrease exposure. You want lower exposure for night photography.
The only issue: if you're shooting meteors, the tails might not show up in the photos, or they might be really blurry. Still, it's better than nothing.
And don't fret if you can't get make it to a good viewing spot tonight. NASA is streaming the meteor shower starting Wednesday at 10 p.m. EST. Find the stream here.
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