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.