Star trails

Sublime and Beautiful Sunday

This post is for #SublimeSunday is inspired by @c0ff33a and #BeautifulSunday is initiated by @ace108.

And I have always loved when I see great photos of the Milky Way or Star trails especially the circular ones, and let me say right from the start these are not great ones, but my recent attempts at getting star trail shots

Let me start with the best one I have got so far and then talk about how I do this

star trails-7.jpg

Go Pro Hero 9 Black Night Lapse
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As I said my Best is not what I was hoping for which would have more Star trails and some object in the foreground such as the Lighthouse in the location where I took this first one, but I learnt a lighthouse is not good to use as a subject for these shots because of cause it generates light, and light pollution is what makes getting star trails or seeing the Milky way challenging.
What is light pollution you may ask, well simply put its the light we humans generate, and to get good shots of the Milky Way you need to be well away from any man made light.

I did try a few locations around here and got a couple of shots that I am somewhat happy with, the first one above and the last one in this post.
I found this website dark site finder which maps out light pollution around the world and to be honest I was shocked how few spots there are good for night shots with little or no light pollution, the closest one to where I live is I think called Cherry State Park in Pennsylvania about 8 hours from where I live, so now its on my list of places to head for a couple of days away maybe next year I will get there

Ok this next shot was one of my early tries, and trust me I did many tries, this one I just wanted to see how the Gopro I recently bought handled shots like these and to test options for merging the photos to make star trails.

To give you an idea of taking these type of shots, for this next one it is I think around 300 photos taken on the go pro over a 40 Minute period, the GoPRo has a night lapse mode, so once you decide which settings to use, you click the shutter button and away it goes, and you wait patiently for as long as you want to take photos, in this case it was about 40 Minutes, so I walked the beach with my other tripod and camera getting steps in and taking photos

This was at Jones Beach in Dartmouth MA

star trails.jpg

Go Pro Hero 9 Black Night Lapse
Click here to view larger

So haven't learnt a bit I had another go, adjusting the settings in Buttonwood park, which was a total failure and hence no photos, I clearly had done the settings wrong so walked in the dark for over an hour and the gopro only took I think 9 Photos so nothing to share of that attempt

Now it needs to be dark, so for the morning times I tried these I was getting to the spot by 4:40 AM ish and it was fairly cool, then I had the bright idea to try in my backyard in the night I knew the light would be an issue, but more to play with different setting son the gopro

Now I mentioned these are between 100 and 300 individual photos merged to make the star trails, I tried two piece of software for merging them, Adobe Photoshop which I have a subscription for, and a free software Starstax which I had used before

star trails-6.jpg

Go Pro Hero 9 Black Night Lapse
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I quite like how that came out and decided to try it in Mono which is the next shot

star trails-5.jpg

Go Pro Hero 9 Black Night Lapse
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Now you may notice that in the first post the trails were in straight lines and now in other shots there curved, that's achieved by aiming your camera at Polaris which is at the end of Ursa Minor also known as the Little dipper, if you aim at this in the Northern Hemisphere all the other stars rotate around it to get the circular trails

this next shot is back at Jones beach

star trails-3.jpg

SGo Pro Hero 9 Black Night Lapse
Click here to view larger

I discovered that I wasn't using starstax properly, your meant to take a couple of dark shots first by covering the lens on the camera, I had not done that so I just adjusting the curves on a couple of my first shots to make fake dark shots, if you do that and add them as dark image sin StarStax you can turn on a feature called gap filling which fills in the curves a little which is what I did for the next and last shot of this post

star trails-8.jpg

Go Pro Hero 9 Black Night Lapse
Click here to view larger

And that sums up all my attempts, I think in total I spent maybe 7 or 8 hours out in the very early morning dark with these attempts, and now know the settings I need to use, but my next attempt will be when I get to Pennsylvania and can visit the park to try again, if I do get to a darker area, I may be able to see and shoot the Milky Way and also get some star trail shots with more stars visible and hence more and fuller circles, but it has been fun trying these

PS @wrestlingdesires you asked to be tagged

And that’s all folks

unless stated otherwise all photos used in my posts are taken and owned by myself, if you wish to use any of my images please contact me.

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