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Thread: How to take star-trail photos?

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    Member emlee's Avatar
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    Default How to take star-trail photos?

    Hi, I have read bits and pieces in this forum before, but never really seen a thread to discuss about this: how to take star trail photographs?

    Granted, there aren't much places to do that in Singapore. I am asking because I might get a chance when travelling. Anyone with recommended readings, please point me to them. Or if you are somewhat of an expert, do share your knowledge on the techniques.

    [note] i am more interested in technique. i.e. how to estimate exposure and settings, what to take note of, what pitfalls to avoid. I am not into very serious Astro-photography (take pictures of Saturn or Mars, etc.).

    Thanks in advance for viewing and contribution.
    EM

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    Default Re: How to take star-trail photos?

    Some cameras have problem taking long exposures. For eg, i tried taking star trails with my D80 before, turn out that the sky contained "more" stars... Its due to the sensor heating up during long exposure that causes extra noise.

    For starters you need to have a tripod, cable release (or delayed exposure function). Max out your aperture (eg, >f22) and try out varying exposure timing.
    Dun blame the camera...blame the one behind the viewfinder :bsmilie:
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    Default Re: How to take star-trail photos?

    Mount camera on tripod, set to manual, aperture as small as possible, ISO as low as possible, set lens to manual and focus at infinity, use cable release to trigger off and lock to expose from half an hr to a few hrs, make sure camera batt is full to be safe.
    Canon EOS 5D, 24-70 f/4 L IS, 50 f/1.2 L, 70-300 f/4-5.6 L IS, 600EX-RT. Sigma 12-24 f/4.5-5.6 EX.

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    Default Re: How to take star-trail photos?

    I thought we need to open up the aperture as large as possible? That's why we have an f1.2 58mm right?
    incywincyspider climbup the waterspout...

  5. #5

    Default Re: How to take star-trail photos?

    In this case, no. The aperture need to be set as small as possible to make the exposure time longer.

  6. #6

    Default Re: How to take star-trail photos?

    i have not tried this before but i guess like the other guys here mentioned, a sturdy tripod and a cable release is a must. you should set your aperture to the smallest, ISO to the lowest and ideally, your surrounding should also be pitch black or as dark as possible.

    i was thinking of using ND filters to cut out some stray light so that a longer exposure can be achieved as well as a longer trail line. not sure if this works though.

    2 cents.

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    Default Re: How to take star-trail photos?

    Quote Originally Posted by karnage View Post
    I thought we need to open up the aperture as large as possible? That's why we have an f1.2 58mm right?
    Why will u need to do that since u're exposing the shot?
    Canon EOS 5D, 24-70 f/4 L IS, 50 f/1.2 L, 70-300 f/4-5.6 L IS, 600EX-RT. Sigma 12-24 f/4.5-5.6 EX.

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    Default Re: How to take star-trail photos?

    Quote Originally Posted by emlee View Post
    Hi, I have read bits and pieces in this forum before, but never really seen a thread to discuss about this: how to take star trail photographs?

    Granted, there aren't much places to do that in Singapore. I am asking because I might get a chance when travelling. Anyone with recommended readings, please point me to them. Or if you are somewhat of an expert, do share your knowledge on the techniques.

    [note] i am more interested in technique. i.e. how to estimate exposure and settings, what to take note of, what pitfalls to avoid. I am not into very serious Astro-photography (take pictures of Saturn or Mars, etc.).

    Thanks in advance for viewing and contribution.
    EM
    Do u mind using film cameras? For digital, u'll get quite a lot of technical problems opening it too long.

    I rem doing a star trail thing when i was very young... I was using film. Small aperture definitely. Its a bit of trial and error.
    cameras are not made of tofu

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    Default Re: How to take star-trail photos?

    Quote Originally Posted by Fotophilic View Post
    Do u mind using film cameras? For digital, u'll get quite a lot of technical problems opening it too long.

    I rem doing a star trail thing when i was very young... I was using film. Small aperture definitely. Its a bit of trial and error.
    I CONCUR.

    Film definetely suits the job much better cause of its tolerance for low sensitivity errors.
    Dun blame the camera...blame the one behind the viewfinder :bsmilie:
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    Default Re: How to take star-trail photos?

    just a thought, for film cameras, i doubt that there will be an issue on overheating..

    but on modern DSLRs, how much is there a risk to the CCD/CMOS if we do 1 hour or 2 hour exposures???
    Fast Camera. Fast Lens. Slow Me. Sigh.
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  11. #11

    Default Re: How to take star-trail photos?

    Quote Originally Posted by luntut View Post
    just a thought, for film cameras, i doubt that there will be an issue on overheating..

    but on modern DSLRs, how much is there a risk to the CCD/CMOS if we do 1 hour or 2 hour exposures???
    Not much. Many people use DSLR cameras for astrophotography and it works just fine.
    Alpha

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    Default Re: How to take star-trail photos?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rashkae View Post
    Not much. Many people use DSLR cameras for astrophotography and it works just fine.
    really?

    but would the batts last? mine goes into stand-by after minutes...
    have u seen the "light" yet?

  13. #13

    Default Re: How to take star-trail photos?

    Quote Originally Posted by sORe-EyEz View Post
    really?

    but would the batts last? mine goes into stand-by after minutes...
    I think it wouldn't go into standby if you are using bulb mode and the shutter is still open?

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    Default Re: How to take star-trail photos?

    Quote Originally Posted by ahbian View Post
    I think it wouldn't go into standby if you are using bulb mode and the shutter is still open?
    hmmm... never try, i think i'll need a cable to do so. i do not have 1. but its ok, i am not shoting just popping a question.
    have u seen the "light" yet?

  15. #15

    Default Re: How to take star-trail photos?

    a fully charged battery would have no problems doing long-exposures until you fall asleep, i usually knock out before my cam does.
    additional equipment you would need would be a sturdy (really sturdy) tripod and a shutter release remote... that wld be good enough for a start
    oh and u would also need, cloudless skies, a nice open area, patience and personally the most important, fooood!
    and ure all set for awesomeness

  16. #16

    Default Re: How to take star-trail photos?

    you cam goes into standby bcoz of inactivity lah

    if you use bulb mode, and your cam goes into standby, means must send to repair liao!

    like what many mentioned here, the main "issue" with digital is the long exposure noise; won't damage CCD/CMOS etc, fully charged battery can last etc

    This was posted many years ago, all using my DSLR, but now shoot star trails I use film
    http://www.clubsnap.com/forums/showthread.php?t=134627


    Quote Originally Posted by sORe-EyEz View Post
    really?

    but would the batts last? mine goes into stand-by after minutes...

  17. #17
    Moderator Francis247's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to take star-trail photos?

    Have you read through this thread?

    There are a lot of information regarding Star Trails there.
    莫问前程有愧,只求今生无悔. Time pasts, Places changed, Beauty faded, what is left are Photos of Memories…

  18. #18
    Member emlee's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to take star-trail photos?

    Quote Originally Posted by Francis247 View Post
    Have you read through this thread?

    There are a lot of information regarding Star Trails there.
    thks, i haven't read this thread yet. did a search for star trail photography but yielded no results. closing this thread now.

    thanks again for all who viewed and contributed.

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