More on Star Trails…

Wacousta Time Lapse Stacked

 

HAPPY (LUNAR) NEW YEAR!

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?

Hometown Stars…

 

Went home to visit the ‘rents today, and thought I’d take some star photos.  My hometown is about 20 minutes outside of Lansing, MI, (which is to say, 20 minutes into the boonies), so there is less light pollution than the city, but it’s not completely absent.  My buddy Andrew had sent me a shot of what I think is called a star field (correct me if I’m wrong), and I figured I’d give it a shot.  The sky was clear enough, but I definitely think it’d be better if I was further away from any large light sources polluting my sky and my photos. 🙂

 


 

My first attempt trying to capture star fields. All shot with my Nikon D700, and the Nikon 20mm f/2.8 at various settings on a tripod.  It was hard trying to set the camera in the dark as well as having to focus manually, so I might have some things I want to change for next time.