The Perseid Meteor Shower 2017 (Photos)

This weekend the Perseid meteor shower was predicted to take place as the Earth made its annual pass through the bright burning debris of the comet Swift-Tuttle.

Perseid Meteor Shower 2017
Our "camp" had seen many graffiti artists in its time.

The shower was set to peak August 13th between 1-3am and expected to produce 80-100 fiery bursts an hour which coincided with another astronomical phenomenon: my 27th trip around the sun. Knowing how much I needed to reset my mind, my friends guided me to the best place anyone could ever spend their birthday. Away from the light pollution and clamoring chaos of the city, we set up our simple camp atop abandoned train tunnels in the Sierras.

Perseid Meteor Shower 2017
Even as the sun was setting the stars were more vivid than I had ever seen.

I remembered how to breathe.

Waiting for the Persied shower to peak in the glow of our camp fire.

As the sun began to set, our laughter and clumsy sing-alongs beckoned the falling stars we had chased up the mountain. This was the same moment I realized that nothing else mattered; not what was trending on twitter, not the bills that are outstanding, nor the tough week ahead, this was MY moment. Free of cell service, conversations grew deep and dreams ran wild as the frigid air chilled our whiskey warmed bodies.

Perseid Meteor Shower 2017
Our first long exposure (or slow shutter) of the night.

Night fell completely and the stars took over the sky. I’ve never seen so many in my life. I didn’t know where to look let alone take photos – sensory overload! I began to snap. Shutter happy they call it. Anything and everything that passed my lens peaked my interest, and I became lost in this tiny utopia we had created.

Perseid Meteor Shower 2017
A satellite & two glimpses of Perseid meteors. Can you spot them?

I fell further into what felt like a dream. Everything was perfect. My anxiety destroyed, worries annihilated. I had longed for a moment like this for quite some time, but one thing was missing… where were the meteors? It was around 1:30 am and sure I saw some beautiful streaks tear through the sky, but not at the rate we had expected.

Perseid Meteor Shower 2017
262 second exposure of the Milky Way.
Perseid Meteor Shower 2017
14 minute exposure of camp.

Our excited chatter continued for hours as we danced around our fire, playing with light, manipulating our own scenes while the Perseids decided to not play along.

Perseid Meteor Shower 2017
The 3/4 full moon takes the main stage while one Perseid meteor comes into frame.

By 3 am the exchange of words became silly and our whiskey coats began to thin, so we headed off to bed.

Perseid Meteor Shower 2017
Huddled for warmth in the final hours.

Directly under the stars, we laid watching the last few Perseid meteors light up our dreams. I had expected a hailstorm of burning debris but what I got was a feeling that will last forever. These are feelings that I cannot describe in full, but I encourage everyone to travel more. Pack up your car with lots of water and your favorite humans, get away as fast and as far as you need to, and create the kind of world you want to live in. If you can bring that feeling and peace of mind home, you’re in for a lifetime of happiness.

Perseid Meteor Shower 2017
I fell asleep clicking my shutter with one final glimpse of a of what I thought I came to find.

Let this playlist guide you through our journey.

. P . AWOL . MUEL . LOOP . MAR . FFE .

Author: Evan Thompson

With a proclivity for risk-taking and an intimate knowledge of San Francisco’s landscape, Evan goes the extra mile, shooting images that capture the mystique and majesty of the Bay Area.

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