Shooting Stars




Sriharsha Ganjam
Shooting Stars
I had worked out the technical details of shooting this image so many times in my head that I would probably have done this half asleep!
All my prior attempts and the failures, the improvisations and learning from each failure, all meant that I had this image in my mind looking this way even before I tripped the shutters that night. All that was needed was for the meteors to start shooting, and they did! They set the night ablaze with streaks raining in various multicolored hues which would dwarf any firework display. Somewhere along the shoot the significance of such an event on our early ancestors suddenly dawned on me. I started associating the influence a visual like this would have on the early mythologies and doomsday prophesies, when one noticed the "stars" falling out of the skies. If stars can fall and die, why not us? Leaving the science of astronomy behind for a while, its not difficult to see how strong the cosmic forces are in moulding our spirituality and beliefs. No wonder we have so many cosmic gods!
Making this image was not just my photographic highlight, but I also gained immensely in the satisfaction of being witness to one of natures truly raw spectacles where humans have absolutely no say what so ever! All I did was just stay awake and keep my eyes open, the spirituality followed very soon.

The making of this image would not have been possible if not for the generous help from VMR Sir, who was extremely accommodating in agreeing for me to take this idea forward. Also the forest department staff were very co-operative and I have to thank Vishwanath the watcher of Jodigere in BRT and Ramu our driver for all their help. Also my wife Siri, who was my moral support all thorough the shoot.

A photo story of this shoot along with a brief timelapse of the showers can be seen on the BRT website at the link given below. ... al-shower/

Thanks for Looking.
Wed May 29, 2013 5:24 pm
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Sriharsha Ganjam  Joined CNP On 23 Jun 2008    Total Image posts 92    -   Total Image Comments 818    -   Image Post to Comment Ratio 1:9    -   Image Comment Density 49     -     Total Forum Posts 42

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Commentby Ganesh H Shankar on Wed May 29, 2013 7:08 pm

This is excellent Harsha ! I am sure sharing technical details of the image (how planned & executed it, exposure details etc) will greatly benefit our members here. Please do share your knowledge if you don't mind :)

I remember we spending a whole night at Mydanahalli during a month of Nov (or Dec?) a few years back with no luck ! It is amazing you got several streaks here (multiple long exposures?)

Ganesh H. Shankar
Wishing you best light,

Personal Websites Fine Art Nature Photography
Facebook Pages Ganesh H. Shankar | Fine Art Nature Photography | Art Of Life

Commentby Sriharsha Ganjam on Wed May 29, 2013 7:41 pm

Thanks Ganesh, coming to the technicality of the image, yes you are right. This is a multi exposure image. Infact the foreground (rocks and mountains) were exposed in the last light of the evening (6pm ish) and the meteor strikes itself were shot at around midnight and beyond. I did this primarily to have a uniform illumination of the FG which is not possible using light painting which would look artificial, and also because it was a new moon that night. If it wasnt for this technique, I would have ended up with a completely dark image. So with one image exposed in the evening for the FG I then left the camera and gear outside till the showers began by midnight. Each meteor streak here is an image which I have merged onto the image of the FG. I was firing a 28 sec exposure every 30secs. This helped me with capturing all the meteor strikes which were in frame. But what I realized during the shoot was that there were a lot more strike that I missed which were outside the frame! The ratio of the "on frame to outside the frame" would be in the region of 1:10 to give you an idea of the intensity of the shower.This image represents close to 12 hours of activity shot over 2 nights.

And yes we have come a long way from our Mydanahalli attempt (which was on Nov 19 2007).After that there was a Kodachadri attempt during our CNP meet, and one Kabini attempt last year. While they were all for the Leonids showers, this one is the Geminid showers, which is brighter and more colorful and also happens in December when we have clearer skies.

Hope that helps. :)

» Last edited by Sriharsha Ganjam on Wed May 29, 2013 8:09 pm; edited 2 times in total

Commentby Ganesh H Shankar on Wed May 29, 2013 7:59 pm

Thanks a bunch Harsha, and the focal length of the lens used ?

Ganesh H. Shankar
Wishing you best light,

Personal Websites Fine Art Nature Photography
Facebook Pages Ganesh H. Shankar | Fine Art Nature Photography | Art Of Life

Commentby Sriharsha Ganjam on Wed May 29, 2013 8:08 pm

I was at 16mm f2.8 on a 5D MIII, to get as much as I could in the FOV.

Commentby Soham Sarkar on Wed May 29, 2013 8:59 pm

This is one amazing image.Thanks Harsha for the sharing technicalities. I must congratulate you for the outcome of your hard work.Thanks for sharing.


Commentby Hrishikesh N on Wed May 29, 2013 9:33 pm

This is Phenomenal Work... Just too Brilliant Sriharshji... If you dont mind, could you please share some tips on how you kept noise under control noise while making the images?


» Last edited by Hrishikesh N on Wed May 29, 2013 9:42 pm; edited 1 time in total

Commentby Vinay.L on Wed May 29, 2013 9:46 pm

Sensational !!! The efforts have paid off very well here. Like all, even am curious to know more about the shooting process.

Commentby Sriharsha Ganjam on Thu May 30, 2013 12:19 am

Thanks Vinay and Hrishikesh. The noise was avoided by doing multiple short exposures (28 sec) and then blending them into a single image. Also since I was shooting on the 5D MIII noise was further minimised. Also the f2.8 lens helped me a lot. I actually purchased my 16mm f2.8 lens specifically for this image.

Commentby Soham Sarkar on Thu May 30, 2013 9:27 am

Harsha, would you mind sharing the ISO?


Commentby Abhisek Majumdar on Thu May 30, 2013 10:26 am

As if there is a celebration going on for some divine intervention with all elements of nature eagerly waiting for its manifestation on them...Brilliant imagery!!

Commentby Sriharsha Ganjam on Thu May 30, 2013 12:01 pm

Soham I kept the ISO at 800.

Commentby ramesh_adkoli on Fri May 31, 2013 11:56 am

A monumental image, Harsha! I kept coming back to it. Every time it creates a feeling of elation, joy, and celebration. My heart just fills up looking at it. Thanks so much for sharing the image and the works behind it. Take a bow!

Commentby krishnan v on Mon Jun 03, 2013 9:20 pm

Completely different image from the usual star trails. Thanks a bunch on the technique explanation. A lot of things to plan for on a dark night ! As always , mega inspiring !

Best Regards

Commentby Bhavya Joshi on Tue Jun 04, 2013 7:10 pm

Masterpiece.. (Y)
Thanks For Sharing..


Commentby neelu on Thu Jun 06, 2013 5:17 pm

Harsha, can only gape and gawk at these celestial magic moments....the technical mastery is awe inspiring and absolutely divine..just lovely how you keep coming up with jaw dropping stuff..hats off..