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Urban Startrails!

  • Apr 7, 2013 · 7:00 PM
  • This location is shown only to members

This is close to the next new moon. Let's hope for clearer skies then to try urban star trails around City Hall Plaza in Boston. Urban star trails are like any other star trails, except that you try to incorporate some urban or architectural elements for the foreground. The trick is to zoom past the street lights and balance the remaining ambient light with the night sky above.

We will meet right in front of the exit of the "Government Center" T-station, slightly to the left of marker "A" in this map.

Below is a (poorly focused and interrupted) example taken in Boston, near the Zakim Bridge.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

City Hall Plaza is well suited for this, as it has a huge opening to the sky and I was able to clearly make out stars when I scouted it out. I added some (crummy camera-) pictures below to give you an impression of the architecture. Lots of different styles of architecture abound, cool angles and if my phone cam can pick up Jupiter, our cameras will rock. We only have to avoid shooting the JFK federal building too much, as that is forbidden. Officially at least.

Lots of other stuff around as well, close to Quincy market, Holocaust Memorial and others.

And here is a link for a little more info on urban star trails.

And here are more examples for inspiration. Just ignore the ones taken from the space station (very trippy!), it's not gonna happen without some major monetary commitment on your side! :-)

As always, this open air meetup is subject to weather cancellation, we will need at least mostly clear skies for this to happen. Please monitor this announcement closely on event day. RSVPs close at noon that day, make sure to change it if you can't make it to allow others to slip in.

You will need an intervalometer for your camera or a built-in functionality for interval shooting (Nikon cameras have this) and a tripod as well as manual exposure settings. I do not believe this is easily done with point and shoot cameras. It will be cold to very cold, hence, bring spare batteries, dress warmly in layers and bring gloves and hand warmers, perhaps hot drinks.I recommend hiking boots for footwear, warm and sturdy and think about bringing some kind of cushion, as your camera will shoot straight up and you will have to focus underneath (oh, lucky you with the articulated LCD!).

Here is a link to an intervalometer, search Amazon for "camera intervalometer" or "camera timer" and add your brand and model of camera to it. These can be had for as little as $10, OEM versions are closer to $100, but are identical in functionality to the cheap kind. We will review at the beginning on how to use these.

Please prepare your camera for these settings:

- disable long-exposure noise reduction (LENR), you cannot use that for star trails
- manual exposure mode, likely f/[masked], ISO 100 and exposure time on BULB and as needed (1-2 minutes works well, shorter for time lapse)
- lenses: the[masked] mm range (full frame, or 16-70 for APC-C sensors) will work fine, wider makes for small trails, more zoom doesn't leave room for foreground.
- familiarize yourself with high ISO live preview, if you have it, or make sure you know how to focus on stars at night (I have a Hoodeye rubber view finder helping with that).

While we shoot trails for an hour or so, I'll unpack my laptop and demo how to make trails from individual images, so you can do so at home. Please download and install one of these two utilities:

If you have Photoshop 5 or 6, you can download a free script called "Dr Brown's Services" including "stack-a-matic", which is the utility you need: http://russellbrown.com/scripts....

If you don't have PS or prefer something more simple and much faster, you can download a free program named StarStax: http://www.markus-enzweiler.de/.... This is what I use, but it doesn't have the layer power of PS. This is what I will use to demonstrate the concept.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Join or login to comment.

  • A former member
    A former member

    If it is cloudy tonight, I will likely pass on this. I don't want to change my RSVP however, since I'll loose my spot for the rescheduled date.

    April 7, 2013

  • Charlene G.

    sorry car trouble, can make this one.

    April 7, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Current weather forecast is mostly cloudy for Sunday evening. I will watch this until the late morning and if the clouds don't move, I will likely change this to a standard urban architectural photo shoot (and lift the participants limit) and schedule urban trails for clear night. I will send out an email if anything changes, but the shoot will happen, either way. Make sure to watch emails and change your RSVP, as needed.

    April 6, 2013

  • Eleanor

    my camera is being repaired...so i can't come.

    April 5, 2013

  • Linda G.

    Sorry cant make this new date -

    April 4, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Looks like we're going to have cloudy skies AGAIN. If we can't do the star trails, and it's not pouring rain, would anyone want to do wet pavement reflections or something like that? I would.

    March 7, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      I might go as your guest...

      April 2, 2013

  • Jackie C.

    I,m out of Town

    March 28, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Warm weather is on the way. Here's a new posted piece from my sequestered winter:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dm0BQG4cPsM

    March 9, 2013

    • David K.

      Really cool ... thx for sharing.

      1 · March 9, 2013

    • Maureen B.

      Wow. how lovely!

      March 9, 2013

  • Eleanor

    I changed my RSVP to no yesterday because of the weather. Now I lost my spot :(. I didn't realize you would transfer everyone to the new date.

    March 8, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      No worries, Eleanor. Let's see how people change their RSVP over the next month. Plus, if this will be successful, there will be many more.

      March 9, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    out of town, very disappointed to miss this

    March 7, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Too cold

    March 7, 2013

  • Eleanor

    sorry, not up for walking around in wind and rain!

    March 7, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    I resonate with the pent-up artistic passions. Friday's forecast calls for probable precipitation, cold, and continued high winds. I'm sure people will find much to photograph. I am searching sequential opportunities -- will opt for calmer conditions. Looking forward to the posted images of the courageous creatives. Good luck everyone.

    March 7, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Have another engagement.

    March 5, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Greetings from sunny Puerto Rico. Third times a charm on this one.

    February 11, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    In again!

    February 10, 2013

  • Shailesh s.

    Sorry I am out of town

    February 8, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Elizabeth -- Have you used that new 24-70mm lens yet? Which one is it (Tamron)? Do you like it? Sharp?

    January 16, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    too cold!

    January 11, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    I think we should meet anyway. It looks like a great place to shoot. Besides, I have my new 24-70mm lens...

    January 11, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    OK Salvatore and Jurgen, I think the videos are amazing. I don't quite understand all of your conversation, but it seems that there's some kind of software that enhances the time lapse? In any case, I'd like to learn how to do this too.

    January 5, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Jurgen, Again I am edified by your commitment to this group. Thank you for scoping out the location and for all the samples and suggestions. I enjoyed the links you provided (it's a massage). I would like to suggest another link that may interest people:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gb_0qVsK3uY
    I know, it's in Russian, and gets pretty technical in places, especially if you're not familiar with AfterEffects, but having watched several times I think I've understood his pathway... of taking sequential shots and moving his tripod each time! He later steadies the shots with "motion tracker" and well... the guy edits creatively!

    January 3, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      and as for panning shots: let's figure this out, I'm looking forward to trying this out.

      January 4, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      Friday. (Predicted to be not too cold... and foggy)

      January 4, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Thank you Jurgen, for all of your work on this. I feel like I'm finally getting the night photography class I have been looking for. I'm learning a lot and having fun!

    January 3, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      Invoice is on its way! :-)

      January 3, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      But thanks for the kudos! Much appreciated. I'm having fun doing this and even more fun seeing others benefit, too.

      January 3, 2013

  • Eleanor

    weather looks bad, so i'm not going to come.

    January 3, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    And here, as promised, a little blurb about why infinite focus may not work for stars and trails.
    http://LeyeTscapes.com/edu/infinity-focus.html

    January 3, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    I'll be in Puerto Rico. Sorry to miss it, but now someone who's waiting can go.

    December 29, 2012

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  • A former member

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