Day 134 – Chasing the Dark – Part 2 (Stars)

Following on from yesterday’s post on chasing the dark  … I tried my first star trail which involved stacking images together.  Once again I was stuck at home so I had to take the images in the garden and I was really aware of the ambient light from windows and street lights, but you have got to try it to understand it… and to decide whether I want to try and experiment in different locations.

Equipment for tonight included:

  • Camera on tripod – bulb mode
  • Torch to focus on the fore ground for just a short period
  • Shutter release cable which was programed to take 1 30 sec exposure, rest for 1 sec and then take another repeatedly.

My first photo looked like this:

17-250mm lens, at 18mm, ISO200, F3.5, 30 sec exposure

17-250mm lens, at 18mm, ISO200, F3.5, 30 sec exposure

This is my garden at night … there were lots of stars though. I then went on and took 12 more photos and merged them together to create a star trail.  I thought before this would be complicated and beyond my skills but Andrew from Long told us about a program he uses called Star Stax, which you can add the jpg’s do and it does the hard work for you.

I therefore took my raw images, processed them into jpgs and downloaded the program, installed it and had a go.

12 images processed in Star Stax

12 images processed in Star Stax

I then selected a different spot in my garden, I wanted a darker foreground and had another attempt. This time cause I was at home, I set up the tripod, popped indoors and had some cheese on toast and a cup of tea whilst my camera did the hard work. It took 91 images … and I merged them together and got this:

Star Trail - 91 images over my garden

Star Trail – 91 images over my garden

I so want to try this again. I have ideas for locations I would like to try and I know that I need to wrap on warm and take a flask or two. Andrew told us that to get the circle effect of a star trail we had to but Polaris in the centre of our nights sky…  but I was limited by the location and surrounding buildings … it is also great to have something to aim for next time.

I am so glad that Andrew was invited along to my camera club, that I attended his presentation and that I took away the information he presented and gave it a try, and I am now looking forward to seeking out darker skies so I can try again.

2 replies
  1. John Warburton
    John Warburton says:

    This is great. I have tried this before and have not been successful so it is something I also need to practice more and I also have some great locations if and when I am able to get out on a clear sky night. Will check out your links. Thanks for sharing Helen. Great photos by the way 🙂

    • Helen
      Helen says:

      Glad the links are helpful… the program to download is worth looking at… I shall look forward to seeing your skies.

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