How to take star-trail photos?


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emlee

Senior Member
Mar 10, 2008
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Ang Mo Kio
#1
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
 

tkbonz

New Member
Dec 11, 2006
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Singapore
#2
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.
 

Snoweagle

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Jan 26, 2005
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Pasir Ris, Singapore
#3
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.
 

karnage

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Feb 26, 2005
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#4
I thought we need to open up the aperture as large as possible? That's why we have an f1.2 58mm right?
 

Jul 31, 2006
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#5
In this case, no. The aperture need to be set as small as possible to make the exposure time longer.
 

IamJeFfy

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Apr 15, 2002
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#6
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. :D

2 cents.
 

Fotophilic

Senior Member
Jun 18, 2006
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big tree town
#8
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.
 

tkbonz

New Member
Dec 11, 2006
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#9
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.
 

luntut

Senior Member
Oct 19, 2007
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Punggol
#10
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???
 

Rashkae

Senior Member
Nov 28, 2005
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#11
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.
 

sORe-EyEz

Senior Member
Jun 28, 2005
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SGee
#12
Not much. Many people use DSLR cameras for astrophotography and it works just fine.
really? :bigeyes:

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

ahbian

Senior Member
May 23, 2006
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#13
really? :bigeyes:

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

sORe-EyEz

Senior Member
Jun 28, 2005
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#14
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. :embrass:
 

deklan

New Member
Feb 28, 2007
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#15
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
 

nuts

Senior Member
Jan 21, 2002
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#16
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! :bsmilie:

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


really? :bigeyes:

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

emlee

Senior Member
Mar 10, 2008
1,763
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Ang Mo Kio
#18
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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