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05 Jan 2015 272 views
 
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photoblog image Star trails

Star trails

Visited my folks for the holidays. I wanted to try my hand at shooting star trails. The first 2 nights were cloudy but I got a break on the 26th and this is the result. This image is a stack (combination - like a stack of playing cards) of 90 30-second shots. I stacked them in Photoshop (an automated script in Photoshop that places each shot into a separate layer) and then set the blending mode to Lighten for all layers. The Lighten mode allows the highlights (stars) to show through all layers combining them and creating the trails.

 

Fun experiment.

Star trails

Visited my folks for the holidays. I wanted to try my hand at shooting star trails. The first 2 nights were cloudy but I got a break on the 26th and this is the result. This image is a stack (combination - like a stack of playing cards) of 90 30-second shots. I stacked them in Photoshop (an automated script in Photoshop that places each shot into a separate layer) and then set the blending mode to Lighten for all layers. The Lighten mode allows the highlights (stars) to show through all layers combining them and creating the trails.

 

Fun experiment.

comments (5)

BRILLIANT John!!! I've always loved these images and wondered how they were done... where is your folks' house?
John Eagle: Thanks, They live north of Reno NV in the Eastern Sierra Nevada Mountain range.
  • Chris
  • England
  • 5 Jan 2015, 06:49
Very clever!!
John Eagle: Thanks
How wonderful this is! I had assumed this was done by leaving the camera shutter open for hours.
John Eagle: That is the more traditional way but after doing some reading online I decide this was a more user friendly option, affording me the ability to edit out images at the beginning or end.
  • Louis
  • South Africa
  • 5 Jan 2015, 12:28
The way Mary describes it, is the way some friends have done it. Yours is a method I haven't heard of before, so I read your description attentively. The stack is part of the technique that I use for 'painting with light' (where you pull an object out of the pitch black night). Example: http://louis.shutterchance.com/image/2011/08/03/blues-with-a-sax/

This experiment of yours is great on results.
John Eagle: I think the multiple shot approach allows more flexibility to edit and remove frames. Maybe from car headlights, light painting, people or animals happening by, etc. If you remove frames from the beginning or end all is fine just shorter star trails. If you remove them from the middle you get gaps or dashed lines. There is a software made exactly for this called star stacker which allows you to choose the frames you want to use then stacks and fills gaps.
This is an awesome image!! ... I really learned something new here. Thanks for posting it and your info.
John Eagle: sure thing, thanks for the comment. Will try an post more soon.

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for this photo I'm in a any and all comments icon ShMood©
camera Canon EOS 50D
exposure mode full manual
shutterspeed 30s
aperture f/4.0
sensitivity ISO3200
focal length 17.0mm
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