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Old 05-02-2013, 06:57 PM   #1
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Default Star trail photos

I've been wanting to try my hand at it for a while now, but haven't had the time - and the recent night photography theme plus a clear night (haven't been many of them!) spurred me on to have a go.

Not the best one ever, but I'm quite pleased for a first attempt! Don't really want to post it in the photo competition because it uses around 60 stacked exposures, and I'm not sure that falls in line with the "not heavily photoshopped" rule.

But anyway, here it is:



(For those that care: 57 images, each with 30 sec exposure, ISO400, F4.0.) The "light line" effect just to the left of the house isn't of my doing, it actually looks like this in real life - it's the line of one of the floodlights shining on Canterbury Cathedral!

Anyone else given this a go? Good fun! :-)
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Old 05-02-2013, 08:11 PM   #2
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Default Re: Star trail photos

Wow looks really cool
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Old 05-03-2013, 10:34 PM   #3
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I've always wanted to try it from atop an overpass over a busy freeway to get the taillights from the cars
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Old 05-03-2013, 11:39 PM   #4
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Default Re: Star trail photos

I'm jealous. You actually have stars. I can usually see about ten from my house on a good night. In north baton rouge, the sky is actually red on some nights from all the chemical plants. No stars or anything, just red haze. I really wish people ronsidered light pollution more.


Why did you need so many exposures? Does your shutter not have a bulb or time setting? Any decent camera should. Or did you run into noise issues? I'm not entirely sure how digital sensors handle long exposures, as I've always used slide film for them.


If you want photo advice (which I assume is the purpose of this thread,) work on your framing. The foreground is uninteresting and framed poorly. Also, I found the large amount of geometric distortion somewhat distracting. The star trails do look good though, so it seems you have the technique about right for that. It does look like your tripod shifted a little either right at the beginning or the end. Every trail has a bit of a hook on one end. Just something to watch out for in the future.
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Old 05-06-2013, 04:57 AM   #5
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Default Re: Star trail photos

Quote:
I'm jealous. You actually have stars. I can usually see about ten from my house on a good night. In north baton rouge, the sky is actually red on some nights from all the chemical plants. No stars or anything, just red haze. I really wish people ronsidered light pollution more.
Yeah, can actually see quite a few in Canterbury for it being a city, my main problem is the clouds which are out in abundance most of the time!

Quote:
Why did you need so many exposures? Does your shutter not have a bulb or time setting? Any decent camera should. Or did you run into noise issues? I'm not entirely sure how digital sensors handle long exposures, as I've always used slide film for them.
Two reasons - primarily noise issues (I get big "hot pixels" that are bright red or so in random points on the image if I go down this route, and the whole thing looks packed with noise) and I had to remove one frame because of an aeroplane flying by, which I obviously can't do with a single exposure. Mine's a relatively low end DSLR, I've heard the better ones are much better with noise in this regard.

Quote:
If you want photo advice (which I assume is the purpose of this thread,)
Yup!

Quote:
work on your framing. The foreground is uninteresting and framed poorly. Also, I found the large amount of geometric distortion somewhat distracting. The star trails do look good though, so it seems you have the technique about right for that. It does look like your tripod shifted a little either right at the beginning or the end. Every trail has a bit of a hook on one end. Just something to watch out for in the future.
Thanks, yeah this was in my back garden trying to get the technique for the stars right - I'd tried a few times before and it just hadn't worked, so I'm glad that's in place. Really want to go somewhere else much more interesting and have another go with a better foreground and concentrate on framing that properly - we have a really cool beach nearby with a lighthouse that I'm thinking of!
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Old 05-07-2013, 11:37 AM   #6
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Default Re: Star trail photos

Since I got all the parking lot lights back online seeing the stars from the property is out of the question. 4 1000watt heads makes it kinda bright around here. Plus the light tower out on the interstate.

As for the beach and the lighthouse, may I suggest a shot or two of the LH silhouetted on the rising or setting sun.
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Old 05-07-2013, 11:50 AM   #7
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Default Re: Star trail photos

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Originally Posted by setishock View Post
Since I got all the parking lot lights back online seeing the stars from the property is out of the question. 4 1000watt heads makes it kinda bright around here. Plus the light tower out on the interstate.

As for the beach and the lighthouse, may I suggest a shot or two of the LH silhouetted on the rising or setting sun.
Might try that at some point, but the sun sets in the wrong direction and I'm not so much of an early morning person - so not sure how well I'd cope with getting up at 4ish to try and photograph it!
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Old 05-10-2013, 08:22 AM   #8
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Default Re: Star trail photos

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Originally Posted by foothead View Post
I'm jealous. You actually have stars. I can usually see about ten from my house on a good night. In north baton rouge, the sky is actually red on some nights from all the chemical plants. No stars or anything, just red haze. I really wish people ronsidered light pollution more.
the same is true in most cities.

Best advice is set aside a day for looking at the stars and go do it. (it's easy to think that you'll just get around to it, but without setting a date, making sure you're not doing anything else, you probably won't get around to it!

drive out the city to a park, or the top of a hill, or just a quite road in the tail end of nowhere, it doesn't have to be pitch black, just a bit darker.

Even if you can still see the glow from the city reasonably clearly (just turn your back on it so that your eyes aren't affected too much) after about half an hour you should be able to see a lot. if you're planing on seeing stars AND planning on taking pictures try and get a camera without an LCD, light bleaches the rhodopsin in your eyes, so to see settings etc use a torch with a red filter.

one of my old house mates used to have a telescope, every time we'd want to see stars proper we'd just go about a mile outside the city, it's not like you have to go to the absolute wilderness.
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Old 05-10-2013, 10:51 AM   #9
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Default Re: Star trail photos

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Originally Posted by root View Post
the same is true in most cities.

Best advice is set aside a day for looking at the stars and go do it. (it's easy to think that you'll just get around to it, but without setting a date, making sure you're not doing anything else, you probably won't get around to it!

drive out the city to a park, or the top of a hill, or just a quite road in the tail end of nowhere, it doesn't have to be pitch black, just a bit darker.

Even if you can still see the glow from the city reasonably clearly (just turn your back on it so that your eyes aren't affected too much) after about half an hour you should be able to see a lot. if you're planing on seeing stars AND planning on taking pictures try and get a camera without an LCD, light bleaches the rhodopsin in your eyes, so to see settings etc use a torch with a red filter.

one of my old house mates used to have a telescope, every time we'd want to see stars proper we'd just go about a mile outside the city, it's not like you have to go to the absolute wilderness.
In short, I'd agree - though weather is another thing to look out for (in terms of clouds more than anything else.) I rarely get a cloudless night combined with an evening that I can spend concentrating on taking photos or stargazing (as much as I'd like that, my evenings tend to be rather busy!)

While the weather's often crap here, I guess I am quite lucky in that Canterbury is pretty much surrounded by countryside - not a complete wilderness, but I only need to drive 5-10 minutes to be somewhere with nigh on 0 light pollution.
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Old 05-10-2013, 11:06 AM   #10
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Default Re: Star trail photos

Well cloud gazing is kinda neat also. When I got my very first digital camera I was working as a clerk at another hotel. At that time the weather was being turbulent and very unpredictable. Anvil cloud formations popped up in the late afternoon, early evening hours. The setting sun lit them up and I got some beautiful shots. Close ups looked like you were flying through the clouds.
So having clouds can be an alternative to stars.
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