Friday, August 5, 2011

MCP Project 52 Week 31

For this week's theme, Sky, I knew exactly what I wanted to do - star trails.  I really didn't think I'd be able to do my experiment because every night was too cloudy or rainy.  This was my first attempt at star trails and you need a perfectly clear night to accomplish it.  Luckily, last night turned out to be a perfect, clear night.  I set up my camera in the backyard on a tripod and pointed it towards North.  All the stars revolve around the North Star so this is the best for getting that circle effect.  Unfortunately, the North Star is covered by trees so I adjusted a little but still added some trees in the foreground.  Next I set my white balance to Tungston to make the sky more blue.  I fired off some test shots for exposure until I was satisfied with the result.  Now, some sites I found said to do one long exposure, and that might be fine if you live in a dark area, but there is way too much light pollution where I live.  So I set the shutter speed to 30 seconds, attached my time lapse remote, and put the camera in burst mode.  I locked down the remote and walked away for a little over an hour.  I ended up with 166 exposures, which I ran through a little program I found, Star Trails, which combined all the images into one.  The above is the final result. 

A couple things, the other streaks you see are airplanes.  It would have taken far too long to remove them in Photoshop and I really don't mind them.  Second, there was a very slight lag in between shots which showed up as breaks in the star trails.  This is more apparent in the full size image.  Apparently, on the programmable remote you can control this, but mine is just the basic remote. It's amazing that the stars are moving so fast that only a lapse of about a second would pick that up.  Overall I am happy with the result and I think it turned out to be a good first attempt.


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