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on Feb 18, 2013 in Landscape Photography

The Heavens have such Tales!


Star Trails, talk about bigtime fun! There is the challenge of making the image, the investment of an entire night for just one final image, and for many, the guess work if any of it will work. We had our first Star Trails Workshop this past weekend in Alabama Hills and the heavens put on a killer show for us to address all of these aspects of Astro photography. There are a number of star photography styles. There is the classic Star Trails that you see above, there is the single click “Heavenly Bodies” style you see below and Time Lapse encompassing an entire night’s sky. These three can easily be accomplished these days with nearly digital camera gear you might have. You just gotta have batteries, time and a desire to embrace a long, cold night. Above is a simple click, 192 of them actually shot over 6hrs using a D4, 18AF and MC-36. It was assembled in a heartbeat on the Mac Retina using StarStax which did a marvelous job!


Now creating star trails is fun, there is NO doubt to it! But like many techniques in photography, just because you can do it doesn’t mean you always do it. The top photo was taken on a nearly moonless night. It’s enough to light the landscape but still permitting Star Trails / Heavenly Body shooting. You can see The Hills in the foreground in the upper photo, that all coming from moonlight. I wanted to do something more than just a Star Trails so went to incorporating the moon in the photo. Even though a sliver of a moon, against the dark sky, it looks like a full moon. The best part was the flare it creates. I had the idea of creating a “syfy” looking Heavenly Body shot and have attempted them before, but none turned out as good as this one. It was a great night of shooting and a ton of fun sharing my passion for the Heavens with others new to this type of photography.