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Streaks at St. Hubert's

By Anna_W  
I've been wanting to have a try at photographing star trails for ages and last night I finally got out and had my first proper go at it. I chose this little church in the field as, although it's out in the countryside, it's an area I know well and I figured I'd be pretty safe alone there at night (at times like this I really envy men - it must be great to just go out without having to think about this stuff Smile )

While I was standing in the field of sheep a badger came trundling along, clearly not having noticed I was there, and snuffled around in the grass just a few feet away - I've never been that near one before and while it was a huge thrill I eventually had to make a bit of noise to let him know I was there as he was getting a bit too close for comfort!

I had been hoping to paint the church with light but, as it was quite some way away this would've meant leaving my camera at the mercy of the sheep whilst I ran the few hundred yards along the road and up the hill, so I reluctantly decided perhaps it'd be better to leave that for another time. About 5 minutes before I was thinking of finishing and heading home for a large glass of red wine, some bloke began making his way up towards the church, waving his torch around wildly and (I assumed) ruining the shot. As it turned out though, he did a much better job of painting with light than I'd have managed, so I take back all those insults I was thinking about him at the time Smile.

The brightness behind the trees around the church is from the lights of a farm and house and the slight variation in shade is caused by the drifting low cloud.

Thanks for looking Smile

Tags: Landscape and travel and Star trails

Voters: Stenk, star69gos, Trev_B and 33 more

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Stenk 11 6 England
4 Mar 2012 10:25PM
great long exposure, nice colours

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Trev_B 11 151 68 England
4 Mar 2012 10:34PM
Well done Anna this is a stunning long exposure shot.

Mike_Smith Plus
10 487 1 United Kingdom
4 Mar 2012 11:06PM
Fantastic i love it
gajewski Plus
13 10 9 United States
5 Mar 2012 12:06AM
Anna, this is a wonderful shot. I too have long considered doing this but never got around to it.
I loved your write-up. And yes, that guy with the light did you a favor -- lighting the building facade perfectly.
So -- can we get some technical details? -- how long of an exposure? What f-stop, what focal length?

I also love the way you composed this one. nicely done.
Anna_W 6 1 2 United Kingdom
5 Mar 2012 9:43AM
Many thanks for the votes and comments and to Trev and Walter for the UAs - very much appreciated Smile Sorry, forgot to add the technical data (actually after I'd waffled on for so long in the description I thought you might've been losing the will to live and stopped reading!)... anyway, this was made up of 70 RAW exposures of 30 seconds each, F3.8, 24mm, ISO 400 (would've like it to be lower, ideally, but the night was too dark for that). If you set the camera to continuous shooting, use a remote release and lock the button down it'll just keep shooting, although I read somewhere that Nikons stop after 100 exposures - must test it out to see if that's true!). Exposures were batch processed in CS5, then saved as JPGs and stacked using Startrails.exe - a brilliant piece of software which the developer has generously made available free of charge (you can download it from

Osool 15 67 Scotland
5 Mar 2012 10:00AM
Love where you've place the horizon on this shot. Gives it really a big sky effect, which shows the star tails perfectly. One of the best I've seen, and makes me want to have a go!
freck 9 19 England
5 Mar 2012 11:00AM
Superb startrails shot Anna, I'll have to get some practice in to get one this good.

cirrusminor 10 380 3 England
6 Mar 2012 7:39PM
Fantastic image Smile
I was taken here a few years back but trudged up close to the church.
It looks soo much better from a distance!


ps... beware of badgers... they bite!
fazzer 9 54 7 United Kingdom
7 Mar 2012 8:37PM
Corker,great shot
Emu72 9 7 1 United Kingdom
8 Mar 2012 10:10AM
This is a hugely underrated image!! Very well taken 'borrowed' Anna Wink

gajewski Plus
13 10 9 United States
8 Mar 2012 10:29PM
Thanks for posting a response to my request for techie data. You provided the kind of detail that I love.
This shot of your was a lot of work but every bit of it worth while. I'd give it a second UA if that was allowed. I agree with Emu72 -- an underrated image.
helenlinda Plus
10 360 22 United Kingdom
10 Mar 2012 7:30AM
Amazing effect - well taken shot SmileSmile
"some bloke began making his way up towards the church, waving his torch wildly"

I think this must have been me. I was there on 3rd March and your picture is so much better than mine (my camera misted over). I saw a car parked further down the road but never considered it could be someone else doing star trails. I have looked at a lot of startrails from this location, and I believe yours is one of the best. The wide view captures the context of the small church on the hill so much better than most. Well done and glad I did such a good job of light painting for you.
Anna_W 6 1 2 United Kingdom
27 Mar 2012 12:04PM
Blimey, what a coincidence Smile Thanks very much for your kind comments sharpimageNET, much appreciated. I hope it didn't sound as if I was being rude (that certainly wasn't the intention) but I had no idea that you were taking photographs. At the time I thought perhaps you were searching for something you'd lost but, with hindsight, it's obvious why your torch was going on and off and that you were painting the church and field with light. I hope you got some good images from the night and would be interested to see them posted on ePz.
Kind regards
My efforts from that night was can be seen on the link below. I am not happy with it, I normally go for much longer star trails but this was cut short due to the lens fogging over when the dew descended, so much so that all my light painting ended up in the recycle bin. This is a popular place for star trails because of the relatively dark skies so there is always a chance you will see someone else. I will keep going back until I get what I want.
10 Apr 2012 5:58PM
Fantastic - has inspired me to have a go at some star trails - or even badger portraits whichever comes first.
16 May 2012 12:39PM
Fantastic photo, and thanks for the info - away on holiday next week to a remote and dark part (i hope) of N Wales - will be giving this a go.
17 May 2012 6:55PM
This is a stunning shot, I must try something like this when the dark skies come around again. Looks a lovely place Smile
tmann 13 4 2 United States
1 Jun 2012 7:38PM
stunning work - superb photo
Thanks for the link to Star Trails software
Can't wait to try it
This is an incredible photo - a pleasure to view!

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