Meteor Star Trails Photo Essay

Author ········· Bashar Alaeddin
Photographs ···  Bashar Alaeddin
Published ······ Online, Dec 2012
Section ·······  Culture

For over a month, I’ve known and have been anticipating the last meteor shower, the Geminid, to happen in December 2012. I planned a trip to the south of Jordan to watch it, admire it, and most importantly, photograph it. Luckily, when I checked the moon-phase, it said that it would be a New Moon which meant it would not show up in the sky and therefore, there would be no moon illumination and a dark sky would enable it to be seen in amazing clarity. On the night of 13 December, I drove down to the Feynan Ecolodge – 180 km south of Amman and approximately 7 km from the famous Wadi Dana Reserve. It's a beautiful little hotel-like lodge with no electricity, limited phone-reception and completely run by the local Bedouins that live around the area. With my two cameras, Canon 5D and 7D, and almost all my studio gear, the night couldn't come any sooner. Since it's winter, the nights are longer, giving me more time to photograph the sky from different angles and use various foreground subjects.

The images in this essay are from that weekend. Unfortunately, due to bad luck and unpredictable weather patterns (a curse for us night-photographers), the skies were pretty cloudy most of the time. The images with trails in them are exposures of more than 15-20 minutes where the iris of the camera is open for a long time in order to capture the rotation of the Earth relative to the stars. The images with the stars as dots are exposures of no more than 30 seconds. I've been fascinated with the night-sky and astronomy since my parents gave me an astronomy children’s book when I was five years old. Twenty-six years later and my fascination has become an obsession that has delved into my career as a photographer.

Bashar Alaeddin is an award-winning digital photographer of Levantine origins. With a commercial focus on food & cuisine and a weekend passion for travel & night-time photography, he tries to showcase the beauty of the Arab world through his photographs by documenting its culture and landscapes. After freelancing for almost ten years in the industry, he now runs a photo/video space he founded in 2010 called 'Adasat' in Amman. He also teaches at universities giving lectures and seminars on various topics surrounding the art and impact of photography in our society.