Self-Portrait with Perseid

Self Portrait with Perseid Meteor
Self Portrait with Perseid Meteor

In early August of 1990, I was just about to leave on a 10 day backpacking trip into Olympic National Park, when I pulled a muscle in my back. It was unrealistic for me to carry a heavy backpack. The backup plan turned out to be to camp at Deer Park at 5000 ft and do what day hikes I could manage. I knew that the Perseids were peaking while we were there and I brought my camera, tripod and cable release.

We stayed up late every night and slept late in the mornings. On the morning of the 13th, I had the camera set up and was taking one hour time exposures, hoping that I could get a photo that showed a Perseid. I was using a 24mm lens and pointed it south into the central Olympics. During the night, fog was forming in the valley of the Grey Wolf River. I was skeptical about getting any faint meteor tracks, since there was a partial moon. But about 45 minutes into an exposure, there was an extremely bright meteor that streaked across the sky within the field of view of where I had the camera pointed. I was pretty excited. Then I decided to walk out into the foreground and lean against one of the snags that were on the hillside. I gave my flash to Jeff and explained what I wanted to do and when I said shoot, he hit me with the flash using the test button. I love the way it looks like I am standing oblivious to the metero behind me.

I was really happy when I saw how the image came out and sent a copy to Sky and Telescope … who printed it in the April 1991 issue. The amazing part of that was the way I found out about the photo being used. I was at home one evening when the phone rang and the guy on the other end asked if I was Allan Jones. I acknoledged that and he said that he had just seen my photo in the latest Sky and Telescope and wanted to say how amazing he thought it was. A nice way to find out …. since my copy came in the mail a couple days later.

Camera: Minolta XD11
Lens: Minolta 24mm set at f2.8
Exposure: 45 minutes
Film: Kodacolor Gold 1600


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