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Star Trails Photography

  • Mar 23, 2012 · 7:30 PM
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Star trails photography is best done on a moonless, clear night.  This date will be right after the new moon, and we will just have to watch the forecast as we get closer to see how clear it will be.  Even if it's not clear, but not rainy, we can move to another location and do car light trails and other night lights photography.

You will need to bring a sturdy tripod and a locking shutter release cable.  You have plenty of time to order one, if you need to, before the event.  Consult your camera manual to find the model number you need.  I like buying things used on Amazon, and you can often get good deals on off-brand, highly rated products.

We'll plan to meet at Pavilion #1.  Take a right at the first fork after the fee gate (there's a $3 fee per car if someone is manning the booth), and then a right near the lodge, and the pavilion is on the left.

Plan to spend 30 minutes to two to three hours per exposure.  I plan to head home by 9:30 or 10 :)

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  • Lisa L.

    I didn't have the camera to do it but did some light photography and observed for future use. Enjoyed the time with others.

    March 24, 2012

  • Thomas "Tommy" M.

    I did a trial the other day for 15 minutes, f/8, ISO 200, 214mm. I got pretty good results. I had actually gone out to shoot Jupiter and Venus. I saw them, but they didn't seem to be interesting to photograph. It was not clear towards the north, so I shot star trails (one exposure) towards the SW, where I could see the most stars. I hope we have a good view towards Polaris tomorrow night, so we can get circular motion. And the exp. time will need to be longer for wider focal lengths.

    March 22, 2012

  • Jackie S.

    It was my first time trying to do it. I set the shutter speed to -bulb- and didnt change the aperture at first. The first trial I left the shutter open for about 10 min and started to see a small trail. But after 2 nights that was the best I was able to get. There was too much light (natural and artificial) in the area. I was hoping to at least get an estimate of about how long it would take and then in the future start thinking of a good background for the trail, but I had no such luck.

    March 21, 2012

  • Thomas "Tommy" M.

    Sorry you can't make it, Jackie, but thanks for writing. What were your camera settings for the star trails?

    March 19, 2012

  • Jackie S.

    If will be heading out of town early Saturday morning so I will be there in spirit...I will try to find an ideal place to do the trail in Jackson. I did a few practice trails this week and did not need a release cable but I did need to use my remote. I ordered it from either amazon or Nikon for like 16 bucks about a yr ago.

    March 18, 2012

  • Thomas "Tommy" M.

    But if the skies aren't clear (but not rainy), you can still do light painting and writing, and even if the sky is clear, you could do light painting and writing as long as you have a tripod and you aren't set up too close to those shooting the star trails.

    March 15, 2012

  • Thomas "Tommy" M.

    No, you will need a locking shutter release cable. Otherwise, you will have to hold your finger down on the shutter button for the entire long exposure. Not only would that be uncomfortable, you risk causing camera shake. Perhaps someone has a camera with a release you could borrow?

    March 15, 2012

  • valerie

    Is this shoot possible with a plain old point and shoot...Nikon P90? I don't think I can connect a cable.

    March 15, 2012

  • Frank S.

    I've heard that the sensor can heat up quite a bit during long exposures and that's what causes the noise. I was just curious. I've never tried those type of photos but I do like doing low natural light shots and I will use NR for that.

    March 9, 2012

  • Thomas "Tommy" M.

    Long Exposure Noise Reduction (LENR) for the star trails, because you have to wait for the same length of time as your original exposure while the camera does its ?dark frame? to clear up noise, before you can view the results or make another exposure. I?m not sure I can be that patient! Tommy

    March 9, 2012

  • Thomas "Tommy" M.

    Hey, Frank,
    I will be shooting digital. I actually haven?t shot film since the advent of digital cameras (although I do miss it!). This will be my first time to do star trails (except for once when I was I was a teenager, and I honestly don?t remember what kind of results I got!) So it will be my first time with really long exposures (I tried to capture some lightning once with maybe 20-30 second digital exposures, but did not get good results.) I?m debating whether to use (cont.)

    March 9, 2012

  • Frank S.

    I'm curious, Tommy. Will you be using digital or film? Have you noticed noise when doing long exposures with digital?

    March 8, 2012

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