Catch a Falling Star

Falling Stars

The Lyrid meteor shower occurred last night. I live in the light-well of greater Saint Louis, so I didn’t have high hopes, but I was still up for some backyard astronomy. Scoping out the online guides, I decided that field-of-view trumped magnification. I clamped a Manfrotto Magic Arm to the porch railing and pointed my Canon 5D straight up. The zoom on the 28-70mm lens is different from most others that I have used. Field-of-view increases as the barrel of the lens is extended or as you retract the lens it zooms in. I don’t have a remote shutter release, so I was limited to 30 second exposures. I tried a few test shots of the Big Dipper, but noticed that the lens slowly unwound itself over the exposure. I guess that the weight of that L-series glass was too much for the zoom mechanism. It is a heavy lens. I eventually applied some DIY scotch tape to the zoom wheel and that fixed the problem. I then shot just a few 30 second exposures, before the clouds rolled in, ending this experiment.

Later reviewing what results I did have, I found this shot and was mollified for my efforts. If you look at it, the brighter stars streak, while the dimmer ones don’t. This is because the collapsing lens phenomenon occurred near the beginning of the exposure and most of the exposure period is after the lens has moved. I like the way that the stars radiate from a common center point. It is reminiscent of the Star Wars warp drive effect. I never did see any meteors.

Catch a falling star an’ put it in your pocket,
Never let it fade away!
Catch a falling star an’ put it in your pocket,
Save it for a rainy day!

1 thought on “Catch a Falling Star

  1. I commend your effort. I did not even make it to the point where I thought I would go out and watch. And we had clear skies.

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