Perseids 2010 II
Night of the Stray
I had grand designs of heading out into 'the woods' to do the photos this year and so drove out into the middle of nowhere. Trouble was, so had several other people. But, they weren't out to watch a meteor shower.
It's become somewhat popular here in the surrounding national forest areas for some people to take their four-wheel all terrain vehicle 'toys' and fly down forest service roads in the middle of the night at questionable rates of speed. What this causes, is a tremendous amount of dust. When I stepped out of my vehicle and turned on a flashlight to do a quick 360 check for eyes looking back at me out of the forest, I suddenly felt like Luke Skywalker with a 75' light saber.
Not only that, but the roads were in some of the worst wash-board state I've ever seen. It reminded me of the summer I drove into Chaco Canyon and the roads were so washboarded that the doors kept rattling open on the vehicle. (Granted, it was a Dodge Grand Caravan, but I probably did more off-roading with that thing than most people will ever do with their SUV's.)
It was almost that bad last night. (None of my teeth rattled out though.)
So - I headed out to another parking spot where people usually congregate to watch meteor showers, and people were congregating... with their high beams on... so much for photography there. ("Oh, I'm sorry sir, did I just mess up your 90 minute exposure with my headlights?")
At this point, I decided to head home, set up the camera in the yard, and crawl in bed and get some sleep. That would have been fine and well, but this stray dog showed up out of nowhere and decided that my tripod needed 'marked' as part of his territory. Whenever I moved away from it he'd start to move in to do his deed.
So, I spent the next 90 minutes defending my tripod from the stray dog instead of taking a nap. Believe me, I encouraged him to leave several times, but he was persistent. (But, the tripod did stay 'dry' and is still resident in my territory.)
The details: ~90mins of stacked 30s subs (fixed tripod), 800ISO, 17mm, f/5
If I had to do it over, I'd have opened my mid-level performance zoom's aperture all the way (f/4) open and set the ISO to 1600 (Canon 20D).
Live and learn... and dodge the strays.