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How To Photograph Star Trails – Part II
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How To Photograph Star Trails – Part II

by adminNovember 15, 2016

Online Photography School

How To Photograph Star Trails

# 4: Get ready to shoot

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When you’re ready to start your shots, make sure your camera is completely stable in its tripod, use a remote shutter release as this will help the camera to keep completely stable and not ruin your composition. Preferably use a control that allows you to define the number of shots you want to do under the same variables as this will not interrupt the cycle of the movement and the effect of the stars will be more fluid and natural. Turn all the lights off and start shooting.

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In the first image, the settings I used were ISO 400, f5.6 and an exposure duration of 5 minutes. Here we can see how the stars are beginning to give a motion effect.
My first image will be my main photo and the rest will only be used to merge the movement of the stars. For the final result, I took 24 photographs, all with ISO 400, f5.6, with 3 minutes exposure, giving a total of 74 minutes of total exposure.


You can take a look at some of the different photos I took, they probably look the same at first sight, but if you look closer, you will note that the stars are in a different position.

# 5: Blending our photographs together

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The final step is to take our photographs to Photoshop, all you need to do is blend the images together by using the “Lighten” blending mode, put the layers on top of each other and change the blending mode to lighten.

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# 6: Finally

This is the final result, we are finally done, as you can see it’s really not that hard but it takes some time so you need to be very patient.

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Keep in mind that the Moon will be very bright relative to the stars. Including the Moon in an image along with star trails may necessitate you taking addition exposures specifically for the Moon and compositing them into the final image.

UFOs in your star trails

When you do take star trail images, don’t be surprised if you see other light trails winging across the sky in your photos. Many times, star trail photos include airplane and helicopter lights as well as light trails from satellites.

Oftentimes, these trails of light will be in a completely different direction than the star trails.

BACK TO PART 1

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