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A night photograph of a hoodoo and the milky way during the Perseid meteor shower

Decay of Time – 2021

As an avid astrophotographer, the Perseid meteor shower is a time to try and get out to shoot. However, over the last few years, the meteor shower’s peak occurred either during a bright moon cycle or was hidden behind cloud cover. I’ve never been able to take advantage of one of the summer’s most spectacular displays. That changed in August of 2021. The moon was finally setting as the sun was setting, rendering the sky as dark as possible. The forecast was for a couple of days of clear skies around the peak, so I arranged with a friend and local nature photographer Herry to check out the annual summer spectacle. 

That evening, we hiked into a nature area about an hour from home that features some unique geology and Class 1 dark skies before sunset. I spent about an hour before the sunset exploring different mud textures and scoping some nighttime compositions that featured the milky way. One problem with milky way photography in Saskatchewan is the height of the core, the dark horse nebula specifically, is quite low on the horizon. So, when you’re in a hilly area, it means you lose a good portion of the core that everyone loves to see. Having shot this area lots in the past, I knew of a couple of spots that I could feature the main part of the core but opted to embrace the dark rift area of the night sky with fascinating mud cracks in the foreground that led to a clay structure shaped by wind and water. I used a couple of LumeCube LED lights with warming filters to light the hoodoo and mud cracks, photographed my foreground, and then set up my tracker and starting photographing the sky. I saw a few good meteors that night but didn’t see the explosive Perseid meteor that features in this photograph. It wasn’t revealed until I was reviewing the dozens of night sky exposures the following day, and I blended it into the photo using Photoshop.

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