Learning to photograph star trails….Day 1
I’ve been spending lots of time thinking about getting up the nerve to try shooting star trails. (It’s hard enough to get up for sunrise, let alone go out in the dark night and wait forever for the Earth to spin us right round the North Star!) On a recent night, the sky was black and clear and full of stars. It would have been the perfect opportunity to shoot. But, I didn’t have all the equipment. What I still needed was a way to trigger the shutter remotely so that, while on “bulb” setting, there would be no camera shake. On my last trip into town, I bought the Canon RC-6 remote trigger. A quick test of the equipment proved that, indeed, I’d be able to shoot on “bulb” for the necessary long exposure needed. Now, all I needed was another clear night. It’s been so warm lately that the Earth and Mountains have been working together to blanket the valley in fog. Fog is beautiful, don’t get me wrong. But it’s not going to work for star trails.
Early this morning, the sky looked clear so I thought I’d give it a practice run. I knew it was too close to sunrise to get any really long star trails. For this first attempt, that was fine with me. I just wanted to prove to myself I could shoot a “pin point” star shot and a “star trails” shot. They both require such different settings. With the light coming quick, I managed to get one shot that showed stars moving, starting their trails of light. I held the shutter open for 75 seconds, f2.8, ISO 400. You can just barely see the trails starting. I think that if I start late at night and give it more time and slower ISO I could get a better result.
Since the sun was coming up anyway, I stuck around to get some images of our biggest star spraying pink rays across the sea of gathering clouds.