Perseids Meteor Shower: Shooting stars visible over UK night sky

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Stargazers rejoice! The Perseids Meteor Shower reaches its peak visibility this week in the skies over the UK, and this means one thing: a huge increase in the popularity of staring at the night sky.

The Perseids shower happens every year around the middle of August, when the Earth passes through the tail end of the path of the comet Swift-Tuttle, and the debris falls into our atmosphere. The rocks and particles burn up as they enter, creating bright streaks of light that we see as shooting stars. The best part this year is around August 11-12.

It’s particularly visible this year as the new moon is on August 14 – so, assuming cloud cover is favourable, and you’re in a dark place with minimal light pollution, you could be in for a show.

I ventured out to take some photographs of it over Llandudno, North Wales – some that I would like to share with you.

I went to the Great Orme Summit Complex – an unlit car park on the top of a 207 metre high rock. Looking out to sea should minimise the light pollution, and it’s close to my home, so easy to get to.

There were a lot more planes flying overhead than meteors at first, but as the show got underway, they started to even out.

This is when the International Space Station passed over. I made sure to wave.

The ISS comes into view, and there's a faint meteor too.

The ISS comes into view, and there’s a faint meteor too.

The Space Station over Llandudno, with a faint meteor

The Space Station over Llandudno, with a faint meteor

Mostly, it was faint meteors, visible mainly due to the camera. If you were in a place with little to no light pollution, like a desert or the Australian outback, then it would be very visible and the sky would be dancing – but as it is, even in dark parts of North Wales, you can see clearly how much light pollution there still is in the above photograph. South Wales’ Brecon Beacons is a dark sky reserve, but I couldn’t get there.

Here’s a few more shots.

Planes cross the sky as the transmitter mast is visible at the Great Orme Summit

Planes cross the sky as the transmitter mast is visible at the Great Orme Summit

You can see the formation of the Milky Way here, as well as faint meteors - mainly visible due to the long exposure of the camera

You can see the formation of the Milky Way here, as well as faint meteors – mainly visible due to the long exposure of the camera

A faint meteori

A faint meteor

More faint meteors

More faint meteors

And, as it was getting late, and I was getting tired, I was thinking of packing away – but as they kept on coming, I decided to keep going – and here’s the result. A great, bright meteor, shot looking North East over Llandudno.

The best and brightest of the night (that I managed to capture!)

The best and brightest of the night (that I managed to capture!)

Much better than the red dots of planes going over (although, yes, I like taking photographs of planes!)

Planes cross the sky

Planes cross the sky

So, all-in-all, a good night for the meteors.

And some good photographs to go away with for me.

I’ll do my best to get out again tonight! Now, to bed!

Some Manchester Airport shots

Every so often, I like to go to Manchester Airport to take photographs of planes.

It’s something I enjoy – a good way to spend a few hours or so. Makes up for not flying them, I guess.

So, in no particular order, here are a few:

British Airways Dove from Above landing at ManchesterVirgin Atlantic Boeing 747 taking off from ManchesterEmirates A380 taking off at Manchester AirportEmirates Airbus A380 at Manchester AirportEmirates Airbus A380 at Manchester AirportJet2 Boeing 737 taking off at Manchester AirportTwo Monarch aircraft at Manchester AirportVirgin Atlantic Hot LipsJet2 Boeing 737 landing at Manchester AirportThomas Cook at Manchester AirportBritish Airways Olympic Dove from Above at Manchester AirportBritish Airways Red Nose Plane at Manchester AirportLufthansa A320 taking off at Manchester AirportEasyjet A320 at Manchester Airport

All taken using the Tamron 150-600mm lens and a Canon 6D body.

Radio Festival 2013 at The Lowry, Salford – In Pictures

The Radio Festival by the Radio Academy is a yearly festival at The Lowry Theatre and Arts Centre in which folk from all over the country with an interest in radio gather to talk, mingle, network, and enjoy socialising.

This year, it was held over October 14-16, with the first two days being the main festival. The first day featured TechCon, which is the technical and engineering side of radio.

The Radio Festival itself has executives, presenters and important people from the radio industry telling stories, tales, being interviewed, and generally providing good fun. Radio people talking radio. We love it.

So, without further ado, here’s a selection of the pictures I took…

Richard Bacon and Alan Yentob, live on BBC Radio Five Live.

RadFest-EF135mm f-2L USM-042

The Audience on Five Live…RadFest-EF135mm f-2L USM-040 RadFest-EF135mm f-2L USM-029

Former Home Secretary Jacqui Smith.RadFest-EF135mm f-2L USM-028 RadFest-EF135mm f-2L USM-007

Journalist Fi GloverRadFest-EF135mm f-2L USM-027

The Canon 6D really holds up well in low light conditions… RadFest-EF135mm f-2L USM-025

Host of TechCon, David LloydRadFest-EF135mm f-2L USM-004

Presenters of the Radio Festival, Jon Holmes, Fi Glover, Jane Garvey…RadFest-EF70-200mm f-2.8L USM-051

Ashley Tabor in conversation..RadFest-EF135mm f-2L USM-026

Comedy Producer John LloydRadFest-EF70-200mm f-2.8L USM-047 RadFest-EF70-200mm f-2.8L USM-049

Jon Holmes (Said in a Hugh Dennis Now Show way….)RadFest-EF70-200mm f-2.8L USM-032

BBC Radio One controller Ben CooperRadFest-EF70-200mm f-2.8L USM-031

Richard Bacon at the top of the hour (getting the applause the radio)RadFest-EF70-200mm f-2.8L USM-036 RadFest-EF70-200mm f-2.8L USM-030

James Cridland..RadFest-EF70-200mm f-2.8L USM-020 RadFest-EF70-200mm f-2.8L USM-019

Charlotte ChurchRadFest-EF70-200mm f-2.8L USM-017

Again, proving just how good the 6D was at low light..RadFest-EF70-200mm f-2.8L USM-014 RadFest-EF70-200mm f-2.8L USM-012

Snazzy bow tieRadFest-EF70-200mm f-2.8L USM-009 RadFest-EF24-105mm f-4L IS USM-022

How to photograph two men via a skype conversation. Probably. RadFest-35mm-035 RadFest-35mm-001

And Five Live being filmed for the BBC website.RadFest-35mm-043

Hope you enjoyed these, and that they show what I can do.

4am Project in Manchester

I didn’t think I would be doing the 4am Project this year – frankly, I thought i’d be asleep (for once). I wasn’t, so I did it.

4AM Project - The Avenue, Spinningfields

In case you’re wondering what it is, The 4am Project is a collaborative effort between photographers all over the world to document where they live (or where they choose) at 4am on a given day, usually in April. It’s organised by Karen Strunks, and she said: “Some of the world’s most beautiful photos are taken under the cover of night, but as we’re all tucked up in bed at that time, the moment just passes us by.”

I’ve taken part in it previously, as seen here and here. Recently, when I was at the Daily Post in North Wales, and this was featured in the paper:

This year, I’m living in Manchester, so took my camera for a walk around the area where I live, Prestwich, and the centre of Manchester (well, up and down Deansgate).

It was on Deansgate, at Spinningfields, I encountered a security guard, who told me, despite it being a publicly accessible area – i.e, it was open to the public, but is actually private land, I couldn’t take photographs. I tweeted this of the conversation:

But this is the photograph I took anyway, as he was was shouting ‘you can’t take photographs here’

4AM Project - On Spinningfields

Short and simple, but it was a case of a few steps, and I was ok to take photographs – funnily enough, of a path leading to the Manchester Magistrates’ court. I hung around taking a few more from the street, just to prove to him I could and wouldn’t be deterred by him, and he left.

Elsewhere, I also took this of The Avenue sign, before the security guard could see me. I hope he reads this and thinks to himself ‘they’re not bad.’ To be honest, I hope you think the same.

4AM Project - The Avenue, Spinningfields

I started, however, in Prestwich, where I live. These were taken around the shopping area:

4AM Project - Closed up shops;

The green shoots of recovery?
4AM Project - a bank and... the green shoots of recovery?

And Bury New Road, quieter:
4AM Project - Prestwich Village

I was using my Canon 6D and new 35mm f/1.4 Sigma lens. Superb combo (I need to write about that separately for my club photography) and the high ISO/low light capabilities of the 6D continue to amaze me.

These were the rest of the photographs:

4AM Project - Outside Manchester Cathedral

4AM Project - Manchester central library

4AM Project - St Peter's Square

So, another successful year of the 4am Project. I do enjoy taking photographs at weird times of the morning. It’s fun to be doing something different to most people, I guess.

Until next time…