Perseids and the Sea Spark



In the night from Thursday to Friday on August 13, it was reported on every news channel the earth crosses the orbit of comet Swift-Tuttle and then collides with the small fragments that this comet has released think of pieces with the size of a grain of sand so fortunately never very dangerous for the Earth. This in itself is not very special because it happens every year, and also several times a year in January, for example, the Boötiden are active. In April there are the Lyrids, in October the Draconids and Orionids, in November the Leonids and in December the Geminids, however the Perseids are the most visible because here are the most fragments.


Well this year was extra special because there was no moon to be seen and therefore less light was present, the less light the better you can see the Perseids and this combination only occurs once every 10 years, of course a very good reason to set the alarm and experience this beautiful spectacle in the sky and being a photographer I naturally wanted to capture this. Of course a photo with some stars and stripes in the sky is not very special so I had an idea to bring 2 special natural phenomena together in one photo, namely the Perseids and Sea Spark. Sea spark is a luminescent algae that is present in our seawater but only becomes visible when the concentration of the alga is high enough, and it grows best in warm still water so you can best see this after a warm day without too much wind where the water is also least moving. It also does not occur everywhere in our country and there are a number of hotspots where it occurs more often than in other places. Petten aan Zee is such a hotspot so this would be the location where I would go that night, packed my things and at 1.55 am I was in the car towards Petten.


What do you take with you when you embark on such a nighttime adventure? Of course your camera, bright lenses, extra batteries, extra memory cards and if you have an extra camera body, then of course you also take it with you in case the first camera no longer works, you also take a sturdy tripod, a flashlight, warm clothing and this should never be missing a thermos with hot coffee. Of course I had already figured out where I would park and I've already been to this place during the day so I wouldn't be faced with any surprises here.

I had never really seen Zeevonk before and also never taken pictures of the stars before so I had set the bar very high for myself but had read a lot about how it should be done, what settings to use and where to focus.


Arriving in Petten I packed my things and walked in the dark over the dunes towards the Palendorp, this is a monument of 160 piles of 6 to 12 meters high. These piles are in the shape of ten houses and a church and is a reminder of the old Petten, which was flooded by the sea long ago. Once I arrived I let my eyes get used to the dark and my mouth opened for a moment you saw continuous shooting stars .. I sat down for a while and really enjoyed it .. wow ... I put my tripod down and aimed my camera towards the northeast because this is where the most would be seen, I took some pictures here but these were pretty boring pictures and in the end I did make a nice start rail picture where you can recognize the Perseids by the direction they are going.




Then I turned my camera around and looked for a composition that also showed the poles nicely and took some pictures, I hadn't seen a blue glow yet so was a little bit disappointed.. but when I looked at the first picture.. saw me a little further in the sea... yaaaa Zeevonk I stood there smiling with happiness.

Then I raised the bar even higher... because how cool would it be to get the Milky Way in addition to the Perseids, the Sea Spark and the poles, not yet having any idea whether the photos were even successful, because it is very bad difficult to operate your camera in the dark.

I did see something that looked like the Milky Way and checked this with the Photopills app with which you can find exactly the Milky Way, and yes exactly behind the posts, above the sea spark and between the Perseids.



After taking quite a few pictures and seeing the sun rise I drove back home, I immediately wanted to crawl behind the computer but first I went to sleep to process these beautiful memories.... what a fantastic night, would did I really succeed?


The next day quickly secure all photos and get to work. HDR stacks to get multiple shooting stars in a picture, play with the exposure, straighten crop some local adjustments, adjusted color temperature and brush away some spots. I got the following result on my screen and can say that the mission was successful




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