Meteor shower

Last night was the peak of the Gemini meteorite showers and I was hoping to be able to get some nice pictures. I had my D3300 set to the following per the Stars / Galaxies/ Northern Lights cheat sheets I bought from you.

Zoom to 18mm
Manual Mode (M)
Aperture to f/3.5
Shutter speed to 30" seconds
ISO to 3200
Focus mode to AF-S
AF-Area mode to Single-point AF
Release mode to Self-timer

For some reason, I couldn't get the shutter to release. I tried several different ways to get the shutter to release (delay, IR mode, etc), but nothing worked. There was enough light out for me to focus on a distant light. Later, when I was inside, I used the same setup and was able to get the shutter to release without any problems. I had less lighting than I did outside and was focusing on an object about 25 feet away.

Any tips on how to get this to work would be appreciated.


  • This camera uses "focus priority" auto focus which you cannot override. For this reason, if the camera does not think it's locked focus it will not fire. If you focused on the distant light and then recomposed without holding the shutter button down, the camera will always try to refocus when you shoot again, and it will fail in the dark. Your easiest workaround is to focus on your distant light, and then without changing anything else, switch it to Manual focus. You'll get release priority and it will shoot.

    As an alternative, if you have a reliable distant light and prefer to auto focus on it, switch to back button focus (in the setup menu, controls, reassign the AF/AE lock button to "AF ON." It will now only focus when you push the back button, and will revert to release priority when you let go. You can recompose all you want and the lens will stay focused where you put it. Some people prefer this setup all the time, but even if you do not it can be a handy way to get around the release problem without giving up AF altogether.

  • Thanks for the help, I'll give these a try.
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