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How to take star trail photos?

star trail photos

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#1 OneDes


    Senior Member

  • Designer
  • 282 posts

Posted 18 June 2013 - 12:24 AM

1. Use a strong tripod, and fix it in place. Movement of the tripod will display squiggles in the star trails.
2. Use a wide angle lens, you can start with the the 35mm.
3. select a digital-camera ISO of 400-800 or a medium speed film.
4. set a medium aperture ( f/5.6 to f/11).
5. Select a dark scene far from city lights .
6. Make sure you have full charged batteries in your camera.

#2 NickVDesigns


    Junior Member

  • Designer
  • 21 posts

Posted 20 June 2013 - 07:06 AM

I've taken a few star trail photos and through trial and error have a few extra tips and tricks.

When I started I read tutorials and many suggested using BULB and have your exposure set to 1 minute or more, some up to a full half hour. This puts a lot of strain on your sensor and can create red dots on your photos.

What I've found gives the best results are (after you've followed OneDes' instructions above), as follows:

1. Set your exposure time to no more than 30 seconds. Yes, this will give you a lot more images to work with when you're done, but you'll have less 'red dot removal' work to do.
2. Use a remote trigger. Preferably one that has a lock function. This way you can just lock it on and it will take 30 second shots continuously, until you're ready to stop.
3. The next part requires Photoshop. It may be 'doable' with other programmes, so maybe if someone knows, they can add to this thread.
4. Take all your images and "Files > Scripts > Load Files Into Stack..."
5. This will load all your images into layers in the one Photoshop file.
6. Change ALL, except the bottom layer, Blending to Lighten.

Doing it this way, depending on how many images you end up with, can get a bit heavy on your computers processor, but it will be worth it. I also recommend selecting all the layers and "Merge layers" making them all one layer, so it's not so slow if you need any further Photoshopping on the image.

Hope this was helpful for any budding star trail photographers.

Here's one of mine:

Posted Image

P.S. I'm an amateur, so my tips and tricks are just the way I do it and not 'the' way.

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