Sunday, June 5, 2016

Still chasing stars

Now that I have more free time on my hands thanks to the non-existent day job, I thought I would try some more rounds of going out under the stars to capture some star trails recently.  I love doing night photography like this.  It's an interesting process really.  You spend upwards of a couple of hours outside at night after dark in hopes that your focus is set right, the exposure and f/stop you decide on using is correct and also the environment plays nicely with you as well.  Recently I started using a new shutter release, a Neewer LCD Timer Shutter Release Remote Control, that allows you to set the desired shutter speed you wish.  It's nice because the Canon will only go to the maximum of 30 second exposures and I've been wanting to try longer.  But what I found out is while doing 60 seconds can give the same results, and much fewer images to have to smash together when stacking them for processing, things burn in harder on each image so if there is light pollution like I usually have where I do star trails, the highlights really get burnt in hard which makes post a little harder to do.  I don't have an area where I can go that's completely dark.  I'm still holding out hope that I can making to northern Michigan to a park up near the top of the lower peninsula that has some of the lowest amounts of light pollution around, but that's in the future. For now, I'm going to continue to stroll down to Zoar and capture the timeless beauty of the building framed in front of the timelessness of the universe.  I've included some recent examples below with details, but if you want to learn more on how to do it yourself, I created a "cookbook" that's available here.
I love how this image came out.  The Garden is Zoar was designed to have a large tree in the center of the garden that is meant to represent Christ with 12 trees surrounding it which represents the apostles. All the time, the stars quietly circle of that. This was 30 second exposures, 800 ISO for about 90 minutes. I wanted to go much longer but a cloud deck started to roll in and lost the stars quickly.
Here's an example of a 1 minute exposure taken over a period of 2 hours at 800 ISO on a 40mm lens. It was rather troublesome to get the detail on the side of the hotel to come out properly.  There is a lot of light in Zoar both from a streetlight right to the left of this image and all the traffic along the main road.
Here's an example of another 1 minute exposure per shot at 800 ISO.  There is another street light at play here, but it actually adds a nice mood to this image.  The only thing that bugged me with this shot was the light pollution from Canton, but others that have viewed it felt it added some nice qualities to the image.