Star Trails (2)

One thing that I’ve been wanting to try is doing what I would call shallow DoF star trail photography with a small subject that I focus on closer to the camera in order to make the stars a bit out of focus. Because this was more of an experiment to kind of get an idea of what it would look like I didn’t spend a lot of time to get more photos to make the trails longer. I do find that I kind of like the idea though and will try more of this in the future. I can’t find any photos doing this type of photography and there could be multiple reasons why. One big reason that I can think of is that because it takes a good amount of time to do star trails in the first place, many people are unwilling to take the time to do one of these. I think once I move out to the country though I’ll have to do more experimenting as I’ll have more chances to work with this than I do now with living in a small city.

For this shot I did 3 frames at 10 minutes exposures each. I used my 16-35mm lens and shot at 16mm with the aperture at f/4 and the ISO at 100. If I would have done the normal shooting with setting the intervalometer up in camera I would have came out with 60 photos instead of 3. I do like having less photos to work with in the end because it means less work processing. Because of this I think I might invest in an intervalometer remote to set up for exposures at an ISO of 50 or 100. If I do that then I’ll also take a dark photo of the same exposure in order to have a dark frame to cancel out the long exposure noise from hot pixels and what not.


Protector of the Night

5 thoughts on “Protector of the Night

    • Thanks Robyn! I was trying to get polaris to be lined up with his head but the angles weren’t quite working with me and it was a bit difficult trying to find a good composition like that. I wish I would have had more time to get longer trails but I think it was a nice experiment. The important thing is that I learned a little for this shoot. I’ve got some ideas for the winter but not sure if I’ll make them happen. I do have this lego figure along with a horse and different weapons in my camera bag so he’ll be along for the photo walks if I find a good place to setup and get a photo. 🙂


        • I have 1 9-stop ND filter and will be getting another one so I’m hoping to be able to stack those in order to get some longer exposures during the day with clouds. What I have in mind is after it snows is to find a good composition with some darker subjects against the white snow and then do a long enough exposure to get some streaking in the sky with the clouds then make a high contrast B&W photos. For more specialized shots I’m hoping to mix in some shallow DoF with the same effect but have the clouds be a little out of focus. Possibly do a close up shot of something with nice detail then have the moving clouds to give the photo a more of a dramatized effect to it. I’ve tried searching the web for photos I have in mind and can’t find any. Either no one has posted them, I’m not typing in the correct keywords, or that type of photography just hasn’t been done much or at all.

          I’m also getting the new Nikon 20mm f/1.8 lens and it has a close focusing distance of about 8 inches so with that I’ll still be able to get a nice out of focus background even at higher apertures such as f/11 which will help out with slower shutter speeds for the effect. Plus with using it on an FX camera it’s still considered an ultra wide angle lens. I’ve also been working on how to estimate the number of stops you need to have from an ND filter along with ways to compensate with ISO and aperture to dial in to get around the shutter speed I want. It’d be nice to do a post on it but then again there’s always that thing called time that I just don’t have too much of these days. Plus it’d be nice to have some photos to show as examples as to why you’d want to do such a thing. I’ve got some waterfall shots but most of those are in the 2-30 second range for shutter speeds. I think getting a 30 minute shot is more important for calculations than a 30 second shot as there’s more time involved and sitting there for 30 minutes to find out you are off by 2-3 stops would not make me so happy.

          Liked by 1 person

          • This all sounds very interesting and definitely worth exploring and trialling all the possibilites.
            Trial and error and successes, keeping notes as you go.
            What I love about Photography is the endless nature of things to try, limited only by our imaginations…and I suppose sometimes equipment, but still we use what we have.
            I too have the 20mm 1.8mm on my wish list – Ive been researching and it takes some wonderfully clear photos. Yes the short focal distance is a bonus!
            Ive just acquired an old 60mm 2.8 and Im enjoying that, especially for what Im focused on presently.
            Keep doing what you’re doing Justin and wishing you some time out for yourself and photos.
            Take care.


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