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Help ! How do I photograph star trails ?


26 Mar 2009 10:54AM

Quote:Quote:just about to give up when my daughter pointed out that the lens cap was still onCoffee/Keyboard coincidence moment
Brilliant!!!!!!

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justin c 11 4.6k 36 England
26 Mar 2009 10:58AM
There's an excellent Star Trail photography article HERE
JanieB43 6 47 6 England
26 Mar 2009 11:03AM
Wow thanks guys !! I've got a remote control (RC-5 wireless ) thingy for my camera - I take it that's no good and I need one with a cable attached ?????????
Jane
26 Mar 2009 11:17AM
I think you are right - it won't do bulb.
I've been using a cable release, but having seen one of these in action it was brilliant - so I've ordered one - Cheap Wireless Release

If you go for one like this, make sure you get the right one for your camera...
Codiac 8 329 3 Northern Ireland
26 Mar 2009 11:24AM
Hi Jane

I took THIS shot recently using the info i got from THIS tutorial.
i also used THIS action in PS to stack the exposures.

Hope that helps. Smile

Gary
Chris_H 11 1.5k 1
26 Mar 2009 11:31AM
I tend to go for exposures from 5 mins to an hour for a lot of my Night Photography Stuff. The exposure, aperture and focusing is critical depending on what you are shooting, there is little point focusing on infinity at F4 and then incluing a subject in the foreground as this is not going to be sharp.

The amount of motion required will depend on how much of the scene the sky and your subject take up. If you have a really large torch this is useful for focusing as if you shine it on your subject and it covers the focusing point in your camera your camera can get a lock and then you can switch the lens to manual focusing.

Light pollution can work well in a scene sometimes, the top two images on this page /Showcase%20Painting%20With%20Light%20Gallery.htm show two very similar exposures, the top image of the windmill is looking towards the city of Norwich and the second of the lighthouse has no light pollution as its looking out over the North Sea.

The moon will also have a dramatic effect on exposure, both a full moon and no moon will work well, however you will notice less exposure times, light pollution and more of a bluer sky when there is a full moon.

Make sure you have no filters such as a polariser on, if you leave a polariser on the required shutter speed can go from one hour to four.

Getting the correct result in one is not actually that difficult, I take a few test shot at a higher aperture and lower F number over one min, if the exposure is correct I do that maths and convert this to an exposure at iso 100 and a relevant F number, I will then know roughly how long to leave the shutter open.

I am not sure if it is still out or not, but I have a Painting With Light and Star Trails article inside the March edition of What Digital Camera Magazine on the way I shoot at night.

I hope this helps and good luck with your images.

Chris
paulcr 10 1.5k 9 Ireland
26 Mar 2009 12:00PM

Quote:You do if you've got a cable release with a lock-up button - just set the camera onto AV and work up through the apertures till you hit an exposure of 30 seconds (won't take long!) at around ISO 200. Mirror lock-up and self-timer on the camera, and then lock on the cable release and head off - the camera will take each 30 second shot, then start 2 seconds after each one on the next. Gives the sensor time to cool, keeps exposures short to minimise noise, and no hassle to you!

Good luck,
James



Now thats clever.
Paul
26 Mar 2009 12:09PM

Quote:Wow thanks guys !! I've got a remote control (RC-5 wireless ) thingy for my camera - I take it that's no good and I need one with a cable attached ?????????
Jane



I've got the same remote, and used it to get this shot

Orion

It looks better large, but that's on my Flickr page.

I set the camera so that the exposure would be 30secs. I then just roughly timed it, and made sure I pressed the remote when I heard the shutter close. Was a bit laborious, but meant I could just have a good look up while I was waiting.

I used the same technique to get a star trail of orion, and I'll upload it tomorrow.
Mikkx 6 20 South Africa
26 Mar 2009 12:15PM

Quote:

More detail at http://www.startrails.de/html/software.html




If some one knows the author of that site please tell them pale grey text on a white background is kind of hard to read! I have just one word CONTRAST is good
26 Mar 2009 12:33PM

Quote:Quote:

More detail at http://www.startrails.de/html/software.html

If some one knows the author of that site please tell them pale grey text on a white background is kind of hard to read! I have just one word CONTRAST is good



Shows up as a black background for me. Are you sure the page loaded fully?
26 Mar 2009 12:36PM

Quote:If some one knows the author of that site please tell them pale grey text on a white background is kind of hard to read! I have just one word CONTRAST is good

Just run WAT (Web Accessibility Toolbar) over the page and #c8c8c8 text on black is a healthy pass for colour contrast, brightness contrast and luminosity ratio.
The speckled stars don't help - the page could definitely be improved, but I'd say it isn't THAT bad!
Sland 8 225 Scotland
26 Mar 2009 1:07PM

Quote:If some one knows the author of that site please tell them pale grey text on a white background is kind of hard to read! I have just one word CONTRAST is good

Background shows as a starry image for me - black with small white stars. - quite easy to read (Using FF 3)
Nick_w e2
7 4.1k 99 England
26 Mar 2009 2:56PM
Check out the work by John Patrick (new focus) I think this one won a competition by Practical Photography - shows the value of the votes on EPZ Wink He recently wrote an article in one of the magazines.

A lot has already been mentioned here, but basically:

1. Very sturdy tripod
2. Mirror lock up
3. the lowest ISO setting (due to noise in the sky)
4. Fairly wide aperture (F5.6)
5. Wide angle lens - shows greatest movement
6. Bulb setting with cable release
7. To get circular effect point at the pole Star (ensure a wide angle lens is horizontal or you can get a distorted star path).
8.Check the moon phase - as a full moon reflects quite a bit of light (I have an astronomer friend that uses sun glasses when viewing for any period of time)
9. To Guage an approximate exposure use the highest ISO setting and widest aperture - Say ISO 1600, F2.8 - thats a factor of 16 different from intended final shot. So if you get the exposure you want from this at say 90 seconds - that would give a 24 minute exposure at ISO 100 F5.6. (saves time and wasted when each image is ca 30 minutes long) - remember to reset the ISO/ Aperture
10. Shoot RAW as you will need to alter WB and exposure settings.
11. Usually best 90 minutes after sunset so any colour from the sun has gone.
12. Dont keep checking everything with a torch as it can affect the image.
13. Cover the eye piece as light can enter via the prism
14. Ensure batteries are fully charged
15. Turn off live view (if you have it) as the heat from the display leads to noise in long exposures and drains the battery.
HTH

Nick
vegas9798 6 57 United States
31 Mar 2009 5:30AM
I have found that a late or early moon or better yet no moon at all will help also.
ojabee 5 3 Canada
31 Mar 2009 5:45AM
oh my gosh that is so funny ' i sure did this!!

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