Star Trails

This is another star trail photo I got out of the same night as the last post. It was at a different location but not too far away. It’s very difficult to do star trails in this area because there is a small city about 10-15 miles away from where I was shooting. Not the idea lighting conditions but at least there was no moon and I was able to get some decent results. I always pass this tree when visiting my wife’s parents and I like to photograph it when I can. The placement isn’t the best because it’s next to an interstate so trying to get a good composition is somewhat difficult. As many of you that have viewed a lot of my photos know, I like to always take photos from a low perspective. This was no exception as I had the camera low and pointing up to get this shot.

Like the last one this was done with 3 photos at 10 minute exposures. The focal length was 16mm, aperture at f/4 and ISO at 100. If anything, I did come away from this shoot with more confidence on shooting star trails as I had to think very little when getting everything set up. Most of the trial and error happened at the beginning with the settings. I remembered to turn auto-focus off and everything.

Another thing that I did learn with these shots is something that I hope will help someone else. When composing a shot with little to no light, it is very difficult. Here’s what I did in order to compose my shots. I boosted the ISO all the way up. By doing this I was able to take a 5 second shot and it looked like I was shooting in daylight. By doing this I could see how my shot was composed and then adjusted. It was taking me about 7-10 shots to finally get my composition but I didn’t have to correct the horizon in post processing because I was able to get the composition right before I started the photos I used for the star trails. I think it is a good way to do it but you just need to remember to reset the ISO back down before starting your shots.


The Lone Giant

10 thoughts on “The Lone Giant

  1. Great results. And thanks for the description of what you went through to set up the shot! I’m always learning from you. Maybe you should start charging?


    • Thanks Emilio! Just send a check or money order in the mail. Due to security reasons I won’t give you my address so you’ll have to guess and you better get it right! lol

      Actually I learned mostly all of what I know for free by sifting through many blogs and posts on the internet without having to pay someone. Plus quite a bit of trial and error. Would be nice to recoup some money for my equipment though but the happiness it brings me is enough. I don’t mind giving information away for free. I will be spending a few of weeks in Arizona in a couple of years so I’m looking forward to photographing that area. I think star trails would be nice to try down there.


    • Thanks Henrietta! There’s a lot of trees where I live and not a whole lot of open space. It’s getting harder to get landscape shots with what I have to work with so I’m always trying to experiment with different things. I also like to explain how I get the shots I do so others can enjoy that as well or at least know how to get similar results.


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