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Old 07-23-2013, 12:26 AM   #1
kgreen
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Star trails photography

This just fascinates me! I've been watching videos on youtube, & through all the devotion & time it takes to do this, the end results are truly amazing. My parents have a place out in the country, with a pond, & forest of trees behind. This winter I'm going to try my hand in some star trail photography. I also have a program called star stax, to stack all the photo's into one to get the end result photo.

This is going to be fun! Anyone done this before care to share your photo's. Or give some helpful advice, for my first run-through.

I'm not sure if we can post videos from youtube here, or if it's allowed. But if so, I can try & post a good one I found. This guy took 30 second shots, for 10 hours, & the video is really neat. My first thought was wow, every 30 seconds for 10 hours that's some serious devotion. And I'm not saying that it doesn't take a lot of heart & time, but with some reading up. I realized a remote shutter was used on continuous mode, so the camera automatically takes the shot every 30 seconds. Not that you should just set it & walk away, you'd need to keep an eye out for condensation on the lens. Or if clouds roll in, that sort of thing. And I couldn't just walk away from my camera set up outside, I'd be a nervous wreck. LOL It would be my luck a deer would knock over my tripod.

The whole thing really intrigues me, so I thought I'd bring it up for discussion.
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Old 07-23-2013, 08:31 AM   #2
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Winter Star Trails by Allen Castillo, on Flickr

This was my first and only attempt at star trails (January 2012). I took a 30-second shot every minute for about 30 minutes. My D7000 has an Interval Timer function and this was easy to set up. If your camera doesn't have a similar function then a programmable remote or something like the Triggertrap will do very nicely. I used a star trails action in Photoshop to process the images.

My suggestion would be to locate Polaris using an app like Google Sky Map then compose your shot accordingly. This way your trails will move around a central point.
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Old 07-23-2013, 08:51 AM   #3
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Also, turn off Long Exposure Noise Reduction, ISO Noise Reduction and Active D-Lighting. When you start to go into exposures, lasting several minutes, the processing time will be equal to or greater than the exposure time, with all those options on. It won't allow you to take the next photo while it is still processing. Just shoot RAW and use software to remove noise. It works better than the camera's noise reduction anyway.

I've experimented with star trails (without success). I live to close to civilization. So, I'm in for the discussion too. But, those were some issues I came across with the D7000. I saw your other thread, that you have the D7000.
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Old 07-23-2013, 10:24 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PythonFan888 View Post

Winter Star Trails by Allen Castillo, on Flickr

This was my first and only attempt at star trails (January 2012). I took a 30-second shot every minute for about 30 minutes. My D7000 has an Interval Timer function and this was easy to set up. If your camera doesn't have a similar function then a programmable remote or something like the Triggertrap will do very nicely. I used a star trails action in Photoshop to process the images.

My suggestion would be to locate Polaris using an app like Google Sky Map then compose your shot accordingly. This way your trails will move around a central point.
Awesome!! I love the results! I have the D7000 too, if you have a remote shutter cable with the slider. You can put the camera in continuous mode, set the shutter for 30 seconds. Then your camera will take a photo continuously every 30 seconds until you release the slider on the remote.
I will go check out the goggle sky map, that will come in handy.
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Old 07-23-2013, 10:45 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pixel Dust View Post
Also, turn off Long Exposure Noise Reduction, ISO Noise Reduction and Active D-Lighting. When you start to go into exposures, lasting several minutes, the processing time will be equal to or greater than the exposure time, with all those options on. It won't allow you to take the next photo while it is still processing. Just shoot RAW and use software to remove noise. It works better than the camera's noise reduction anyway.

I've experimented with star trails (without success). I live to close to civilization. So, I'm in for the discussion too. But, those were some issues I came across with the D7000. I saw your other thread, that you have the D7000.
Good point! I knew about shutting off the long exposure NR, ISO NR, but I didn't think to shut off the active D-lighting. So thanks for adding that. Believe it or not, I still haven't went RAW. I want to, & read up on it. Tried a few test shots a couple days ago & when I tried to import the photo's into my old version of Photoshop Elements, it wouldn't let me?? I even tried downloading a convertor with no success. I have another thread about purchasing new editing software. And since I've used Elements for years I think I will upgrade to the Elements 11, & possibly add lightroom. Hopefully then I can import my RAW files & get started.

You probably know this, but also in the shooting menu- ISO sensitivity settings. If it's day light, & I am not shooting something that I want to manually change the ISO. Then I will turn the auto ISO sensitivity on, & it does a pretty good job. But the first ounce of low light & it will kick it way up. I remember when I first got my camera, I wasn't thinking & it was set to auto & I bombed some Halloween trick or treating shots of my son, using the kit lens 18-105 mm. I didn't realize until I uploaded to my computer.. and it was Noise city!! lol
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Old 07-23-2013, 10:52 PM   #6
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Is it allowed to share a video from YouTube? If it's not allowed I can delete this. But here was the video of star trails that really perked my interest. And near the end of the video it will show the stacked photo. Pretty cool, & a job well done.

http://youtu.be/3V3rmDG5J8A
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Old 07-23-2013, 11:28 PM   #7
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[QUOTE=PythonFan888;49048773
My suggestion would be to locate Polaris using an app like Google Sky Map then compose your shot accordingly. This way your trails will move around a central point.[/QUOTE]


Added it. That's one cool app! Thanks
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Old 07-24-2013, 08:34 AM   #8
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You may want to manually set your white balance, if you are going to stay in JPG. Sometimes the auto white balance changes from shot-to-shot, even if you don't move or change anything. I don't know how relevant it is for stacking, but it does give odd effects for timelaps.
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Old 07-24-2013, 09:22 PM   #9
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Along with long exposures and stacking exposures, there are other ways to get star trails. Stellarium can even produce star fields that are correct for the exact time and place (but the weather is always good).

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Old 07-25-2013, 07:18 PM   #10
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I haven't tried the star trails yet, but I will be. I had some free time this past weekend and made the 70 mile drive up to York, Maine to get some night shots of Nubble Light. Unfortunately the moon was to bright to get some of the shots I wanted. What I really wanted was to get tons of stars and the Milky Way. I'll try again in 2 weeks when its a New Moon week, but I wont be able to get back to Maine where its much darker, but I'll try.

This was a 30 second shot at f/2.8 (ISO 200 IIRC). Only 3 of the stars were visible to the naked eye. The rocks are so bright because of the moon, which in this shot was behind me.


I will be trying some longer exposure shots to get star trails too.

Here's another shot from a different angle. Again, 30 seconds at f/2.8. ISO was low, 200 IIRC. The moon was off to my right:
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Old 07-26-2013, 01:48 AM   #11
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I was playing with the idea a few years ago when I was trying to get shots during a meteor shower. I learned a lot from it.
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Old 07-26-2013, 08:27 AM   #12
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I haven't been on for a few days, but I wanted to say thanks for all the advice. And Thanks for posting your photo's. Great shots, I enjoyed getting to see them.
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Old 07-31-2013, 05:02 PM   #13
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Here are a few I've taken at WDW


The Stars of Magic Kingdom by Paul Gowder, on Flickr


Magic Kingdom Star Trails by Paul Gowder, on Flickr


Startrails over Carousel of Progress by Paul Gowder, on Flickr


Star Trails over the Castle by Paul Gowder, on Flickr

And a time lapse:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/9607715...otolist-97rChQ
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