More on Star Trails…

Wacousta Time Lapse Stacked



A few weeks ago, I went back to visit my parents in Michigan for a weekend, and spend some quality time with them for the Lunar New Year (a.k.a. Tet). In addition to the good food, and the spending time with the parents, another one of the benefits of leaving Chicago is the ability to get away from the light pollution. Granted, it’s great living in a big city, where street lights allow you to see where you are going, and give you some feeling of security at night, but if you’re trying to look up and see the stars, it’s no bueno, as they say. All those bright lights reflect back into the sky, and diffract in the atmosphere, making it much more difficult for the already dim star light to find it’s way to our peepers (a.k.a. eyeballs). In any case, using the Photographer’s Ephemeris app, I was able to find the times of the sunset and the moonset, and then using the Star Walk app, figured out which direction to point my camera. After getting the settings dialed in, I set up my camera to manual, using a remote timer to take 99 shots. 16mm, F/5.6, 20s at ISO 1600. And just like with a RonCo rotisserie cooker, I just set it and… FORGET IT! Well, not quite, I still hung around out in the cold for about 40 minutes trying to stay warm as my camera fired away.

The eventual shots I took, converted to jpeg, and imported into Adobe Premiere Pro to turn into this 9 second timelapse (Best viewed in 1080p, fullscreen, if possible).

It’s kind of crazy how many shots you need to take to turn into a timelapse video of a respectable length.

So now, you’re probably wondering, what does this video have to do with star trails? Well, I’m glad you asked. Previously, I would shoot with low ISO, small aperture, and a long shutter speed to get the star trails. This time, I went with a different method. Taking a large number of discrete shots, and then stacking them in photoshop. There are pros and cons to each method, especially since this method takes a whole lot more effort to get the final star trail photo. I’m lookign to do a little camping this summer, so hopefully I can do some more star trail photos. That’s it for now! So, how are you doing?

Chicago by Film…

I took these photos back in August/September of 2012. I had just picked up my first medium format SLR, the Bronica ETRSi, with a few lenses. I was excited to try it out, and because I had a few friends in town, I had some willing subjects.  I really liked how they turned out; the quality turned out pretty nice. These were shot on Kodak Portra 400, 220 film, and photos were developed and scanned by a lab. I made some adjustments in lightroom, but nothing too drastic (one I converted to B&W, because I screwed up the exposure so badly). The Bronica doesn’t have a built in light meter (although, you can buy a prism viewfinder with it built in), but, not to worry, there’s an app for that! I used the light meter app on my iphone to get a good approximation of exposure settings, and it worked really well!

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