Technical: Canon 1D Mark II, 100mm f/2.8 Macro, 1/250 @ f/4, ISO 400. Processed with Lightroom CC. Camera Landscape profile, minor exposure tweaks (whites +25, blacks -35), linear tone curve, somewhat aggressive masked sharpening (+100), masked clarity (+20). Apparently I missed a dust spot. Sigh!
Technical: Fuji X-T1, XF55-200mm f/3.5 @ 90mm, 1/400 @ f/13, ISO 400. Handheld. Processed with Lightroom CC 2015: clarity +15, exposure almost untouched: just pushed the whites +67 with graduated filter below the horizon to better match what the eye would see).
What follows is a photo journal of our 100 hours on Lobster Lake in Maine. It is a bit of a travelogue with occasional side-trips into how the photographs were made. I hope either aspect of the narrative won’t be too boring for the different readers of this article.
I’m guessing your first thought it something akin to “Where the heck is Lobster Lake?” Fair question. It’s located a bit north and east of Moosehead Lake (the largest lake in Maine) and about 20-30 miles west of Mount Katahdin. The lake feeds a western branch of the Penobscot River. The lake is so named due to its resemblance to a lobster claw. As near as I can tell, it also the source for the idiom “If you don’t like the weather in New England, just wait a few minutes”.
The 2015 Persieds promised to be pretty good this year: no moon and a forecast of clear skies. From a “sitting on the deck” perspective they came through: we saw quite a number of them when we were out and observing. As chance would have it Damien and Cayla, our grandchildren, were here for a sleepover and so they both got to see their first “shooting stars”. That alone made the night worthwhile.
Photographically, however, not nearly as much luck. I set up the Fuji X-T1 with interval shooting (1 second, the minimum) and with 15 second exposures at ISO 1600. Sadly my 10-24mm lens only opens to f/4. With the noise reduction on it was only taking images about 60% of the time, so serendipity was a play. In the end only 4 frames out of 400+ had meteors in them. (Lightroom processing was +1.3EV, boosted the whites a bit, and converted to black & white for all but the dawn shots.)
Here’s a time-lapse of the evening. The first part starts around 10pm and ends up with clouds. It then switches to around 4am and runs until dawn starts to overwhelm the starlight. You’ll see a lot of satellites and aircraft and a few flashes here and there of the meteors.
Here are the other 3 meteor grabs:
Very faint in lower-right:
This looks like 2, but the meteor is in the bottom-left corner (in the trees). The other streak (center-ish) is a satellite.
Another faint streak above the tree (just left of center):
If this were a Friday or weekend, I probably would have babysat the camera all night and grabbed a few more images. In retrospect, I should have set up another camera with a different timing sequence to get better time coverage… something I definitely considered but given the light pollution from Boston and the hill obscuring Perseus, this worked well enough. Besides, this wasn’t about the pictures — meteor showers can really only be appreciated in person, preferably with good friends and family nearby.
Here in the Northeast we’ve pretty much had our fill of snow, but that’s all there is to photograph this year and I could not bring myself to do that again. Looking back through my archives, it turns out that March isn’t a great month for color (although last year’s March wallpaper was the exception – but that turned out to be the only round in that particular gun…) So we moved the photographic eye ahead a few weeks into April and found a nice scene from our waterfall area. I hope it brightens your March a bit…