Monday, August 8, 2011

The Night Sky

Recently I read about taking photos called star trails that map the stars movement across the sky. My first opportunity outside the city, I had to try to take a star trails photo (not that it couldn’t be done in the city depending on where you are, but you can see so many more stars outside the city).


(f/3.5, ISO 640, 30 second exposure, 28mm, focus at infinity)

I took the above shot by combing 32 consecutive 30-second exposure shots. You’ll notice that my star trails aren’t completely smooth. The “shakiness” is a product of the fact that I don’t have a remote shutter release for my camera, so I have to manually press the shutter every 30 seconds. For one, I’m shaky, plus I’m taking my hands on and off the camera during a longer exposure. Secondly, I didn’t always hit the shutter as quickly as I needed to hit it, so there may have be a brief “gap” in the trail. I cannot wait to take a more star trails photos once I have a remote! Oh, and the random streak across the sky is a plane.

There are a couple of common methods you can use to take a star trails photo. You can take a single long exposure shot (say 20 or 30 minutes or even longer) using the “bulb” setting on your camera or you can take many shorter exposure shots (only 30 seconds  - shorter compared to a 30 minutes exposure at least!), and make a composite image. This article and this article explain it in more detail. The second article includes a program that automatically makes a composite image for you – it is awesome! I used it to make my image.

Here are a few other photos I took last night. Do you recognize a famous constellation in the first one?




Isn’t God’s creation so beautiful and amazing? My photos don’t do it justice!