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.