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In two previous articles I covered the most common problems that face anyone doing long exposures. In part 1 of 2 I discussed: Poor Focus, Dim Stars (low contrast), Strange Colors and Pink or Purple glow. In part 2 of 2 , I tackled gaps in star trails, and noise. It seems like I have omitted a rather important element: how to choose your exposure settings in the first place. An astute Flickr user asked What is the Best ISO for Stacking Startrails . Good question and I realize I have not approached the question from that point of view… starting from the beginning, that is.
Introduction It’s that time in the evening, when the sun has set, the clouds have put on their show, and the first stars are beginning to shimmer through the twilight blues. It’s one of the most peaceful and tranquil moments of the day, second only to predawn, but you’re probably packing your bag to make sure you get back to the car before darkness descends. Soon the stars come out in full force, lighting the sky with points of light stretching away for many light years. Take a minute and look up, it’s a wondrous sight. If you’ve never sat deep in the wilderness miles from civilization and simply watched the light retreat from east to west and the stars dance in circles around you, you’re missing out.
One of the first subjects that I remember trying to capture as a teenager with my first SLR camera (film) was light trails created by cars on a busy road near my home. I’d seen this type of shot in a photography magazine and was impressed by the eye catching results.
One of the lessons in the Photography Lab series I teach is a lesson on night photography, specifically shooting the stars. There are two essentials to know before going out to shoot stars your first time. Photo captured by Denis Krivoy (Click Image to See More From Denis Krivoy) ONE: The Earth is rotating. This means you can photograph star constellations, but after about 15 seconds, you will start to get blurring in your stars because of the movement of the Earth.
How to Photograph Star Trails With a Digital SLR Camera Thanks for taking the time to check out this tutorial. I'm naming this article "How to Photograph Star Trails", but more accurately it should be called "How I Photograph Star Trails.”
A Note on Raw Processing When processing your raw files be sure to have the settings the same for each file. In particular, choose a white balance setting that makes the twilight exposure(s) look right, then use that same setting for all your conversions. If you're shooting jpeg, you should probably select a manual white balance in camera so that they all end up the same.
Star Trails These are a great challenge, and the best part is, you don't know exactly what the photograph will look like until after you've taken it. In order to take star trail shots you need three essential things: A DSLR with a BULB mode, a tripod, and a rubber band and eraser. There are other methods to taking star trails too which require more tools, but if you have those three things than you can get away with taking a fine photo. 360, 30 sec exposures combined. (3 hours exposure in total).
What does it do? You can load the Images and optionally some dark.frames (will be averaged and subtracted automatically if exist).
Photographing the night sky is extremely rewarding because you often get views of things that your own eyes either can't see, or you don't think to look for them. When seeing photos of stars, star trails, or other night images, people are often surprised by the unreal—or surreal—colors.
Software Repository Star Trails Photoshop Action. Download Action Here Purpose:
Ever since the first time I looked in a book with long-exposure photography, I’ve loved the look of trailing stars in photographs. The idea is simple, expose for a long enough period of time to record the rotation of the stars as the Earth spins. My own attempts were never very successful using film due to the negative effects of reciprocity and my lack of technical skills and patience. Even later, when I finally got a digital SLR camera with the battery life to pull off an hour long exposure, my star streak photos were always sub par, riddled with technical and aesthetic problems.