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Star Trails and/or Light Painting Event

** Date Changed to Saturday, July 26th ** (All other details the same.)

Come learn how to photograph the stars and Milky Way, both as static images and as long swirling trails of moving light. The moon sets at 8 pm, the sun sets at 8:25 pm, and it is the weekend of the new moon, so there should be a minimum of other lights in the sky. (The Delta Aquarids Meteor Shower is peaking around the 28th, so we might also get lucky with that.)

We will meet at 8:15 pm in the Middleton Park and Ride (4817 Parmenter St, Middleton, WI 53562) and then leave for Indian Lake County Park by 8:23 pm, or you can meet us at the park. We will meet at the *WEST* (second) parking lot. Bring a tripod and remote shutter release for best results. (Be sure to also dress for the weather/bugs and consider bringing a small flashlight or headlamp. It would be ideal if it has a 'red light' setting to avoid bright lights getting into other peoples' eyes and pictures.)

Clear, cloud-free skies are a must for star photographs. If it is cloudy but not raining, then we can experiment with lights and light painting, and I will reschedule the star photography attempt for Saturday night. If it is raining, I will reschedule the whole thing for Saturday. I will post a final update by 5 pm at the latest if we will need to reschedule entirely. Hopefully the weather will cooperate (this time)!

For more on star photography, read http://www.boostyourphotography.com/2013/07/stacking-star-trails.html

For more on light painting (orb spinning in particular), read http://www.boostyourphotography.com/2013/06/light-painting-how-to-spin-orb.html (This also has links to recommended LED lights to bring for this.)

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  • Chandrasekhar S.

    Is there another session in plan anytime soon for photographing stars? I missed the last one.

    September 13, 2014

  • Anne P.

    Hi All! I'm very new to learning all the functions of our camera. The problem I have at night is the camera has trouble manually focusing when it's too dark. The other night I had wanted to photograph firefly trials but the camera just wouldn't stay focused therefore I could not take a pic. What can I do to override that? When it's so dark, the camera has nothing to "lock" onto I suppose. Help?

    August 28, 2014

    • A former member
      A former member

      Use a light and place it in the field near the fireflies, focus on the light, then switch to manual focus. Also use a smaller aperture (higher number) to increase the depth of field. You can use StarStax to stack multiple shorter exposure frames (around 30 seconds) instead of one longer exposure.

      1 · August 28, 2014

  • Daniel N.

    I had a lot of fun. Shooting the stars has always been one of my "want too". Thanks for this event. I hope to do this every month that allows. All photos I put here I ran through Lightroom. I only used globle effects .

    July 28, 2014

  • Vijaya K.

    It was fun.

    1 · July 27, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    so... the sky cleared up beautifully while i was shooting this afternoon's fund raiser... and here i was, now, without a ride to the park! woe is me!!! still hoping for a repeat...

    July 26, 2014

    • Katie M.

      We will definitely plan another in the future.

      2 · July 26, 2014

    • Sharon M

      I would like that.

      July 27, 2014

  • Katie M.

    Thanks so much to everyone who stuck with it through the weather and the crazy fog! Hope everyone had fun and can't wait to see all your shots!

    July 26, 2014

  • Vijaya K.

    I'm in the parking lot. I don't see you here. I see the lake in front of me.

    July 26, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    Hello Katie. I am bit confused with all the yes no comments. Can u plz let me know if we r meeting tonight or has this been rescheduled.

    July 26, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    so, it looks like the stars won't make it tonight, so i'm going to pass as well. katie, i hope you'll schedule this again, i REALLY want to do the star photos. i hope whoever goes has a wonderful experience with the light painting :-) see you next time!

    July 26, 2014

    • Katie M.

      Thanks for letting me know, Sharon.

      July 26, 2014

    • A former member
      A former member

      Hey Katie. I am bit confused with the comments. Can u plz let me know if we r meeting today or has it been rescheduled.

      July 26, 2014

  • Heather M.

    I'm a maybe, depending on when my afternoon plans wrap up.

    July 26, 2014

    • Katie M.

      No worries. I'll have an LED with your name on it, just in case!

      July 26, 2014

  • Monu K.

    So the weather tonight predicts intermittent clouds and at times partly cloudy, is the meetup still on schedule?

    July 26, 2014

    • Katie M.

      I think our chances of stars are slim, but it looks like we should be alright for light painting.

      July 26, 2014

  • Marla F.

    I was wondering if these two lenses can work for the star trailing? 18-55 or[masked]
    Is anyone coming from the st. Mary's area in Madison?

    July 23, 2014

  • Monu K.

    I am based in Chicago. And I would love to be a part of this exciting opportunity to shoot star trails. Have been waiting for this since a long time. But I belive its gonna pour Friday and Saturday..

    July 25, 2014

    • Monu K.

      Thanks for rescheduling this for saturday, would have been hard for me if this was for friday evening. However i will RSVP by tomorrow afternoon, weather looks gloomy on saturday as well, it'd be hard to shoot if clouds are covering the skies.

      July 25, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    not to be the bearer of bad news, but my accuweather app calls for thunderstorms for friday AND saturday. my experience with this app is that it really is pretty accurate! do we have a 2nd backup date if this proves to be the case? oh, it calls for rain for sunday too... *sigh* the good news is, if it can really predict that far out, it's looking nice for the next weekend.

    July 24, 2014

    • A former member
      A former member

      Jp, how about you e-mail tomorrow early evening and let me know if you still want a ride?

      July 24, 2014

    • A former member
      A former member

      ok, robert... it's just weather-dependent, really. and thanks again :-)

      July 25, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    Me and a friend would like to come, but we need a ride from and to Madison. Does anybody have space for two people? Thank you!

    July 20, 2014

    • A former member
      A former member

      Hi Jp. Happy to give you a ride. The only question us what time do you want to be heading back home. I can be flexible, but was hoping to stay out a while.

      July 24, 2014

    • A former member
      A former member

      thanks for responding, robert! i'm totally flexible too, in terms of staying out. i do wish, though, that you'd post some profile info so i have a sense of who you are. thanks!

      July 24, 2014

  • Chandrasekhar S.

    Hi..I live on the East side of Madison, so thinking between meeting at Middleton Park & Ride and going from there vs driving directly to the Indian Lake County Park. Can I know if it is a group ride from the Park & Ride? or are we planning it just for meeting at a place before heading to the destination? Thanks.

    July 23, 2014

    • Katie M.

      The intention is to use it as a park & ride, but I imagine many people will prefer to just drive on to the park so that they can choose their own ending time.

      July 23, 2014

    • A former member
      A former member

      Where in the park are you meeting?

      July 23, 2014

  • Katie M.

    Excited to see the numbers growing for this! It looks like there are a few people willing to carpool from in town (East and West sides), so check in the comments if you are looking for a ride.

    The weather for Friday is not looking promising - 40% chance of storms. I will post a final verdict by 5 pm on Friday night here on this page, so please check in. IF it is raining, I will reschedule for Saturday. IF it is only cloudy, the meetup will go ahead, but we will focus on light painting and not on stars, AND I will reschedule a star attempt for Saturday. Fingers crossed!

    July 23, 2014

    • Vijaya K.

      I look forward to the star meetup on Saturday if it rains on Friday.

      1 · July 23, 2014

  • Licho

    Are there carpooling options? Thanks for organizing this folks!

    July 22, 2014

    • Licho

      Thanks. This is great. I live close to Whole Foods.

      July 22, 2014

    • A former member
      A former member

      Sure. I sent you an inmail using meetup. Please let me know whether you got it.

      July 23, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    i'm another who would love to ride with someone. driving across town, and at night... let's just say it can be challenging for me. i live on the east side, very near to olbrich gardens. anyone able to offer help with this? thanks, in advance! :-)

    July 22, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    This is my first meet up and I am new at photography, but this sounds fun even if I just watch. I will meet you at the park.

    July 22, 2014

  • Monika

    Sounds interesting but I don't have a tripod or anything

    July 12, 2014

    • Katie M.

      Hi Monika. A tripod is pretty essential for this because you want long, slow shutter speeds. You could try resting your camera on a picnic table or bench but then you cannot control your view.

      July 13, 2014

    • A former member
      A former member

      i think i may have a spare tripod here somewhere. it's not a great one, but it may be better than nothing if you want to try this event. it's a screw-on, not a ball-head or anything fancy like that! let me know if you're interested and i'll search for it. no guarantees though! things disappear in this house... lol

      July 20, 2014

  • Sharon M

    I will try to make it. Have company coming to town I believe that night.

    July 19, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    I will be late, after 10.

    July 16, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    There's a boat dock at the end of the west entrance to the park. It works well for orb spinning reflections.

    1 · July 15, 2014

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