January 2012
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Tips and techniques for photographing star trails (contd) ..

Tip 951 (Heating up of the sensor): A digital camera is not the same thing as a film camera. When you had a film camera, and you opened the shutter for long exposures, all the camera did was to expose the chemicals on the film to light, and did nothing else. However, in the case of digital cameras, you have a sensor doing all the work, and this sensor is a piece of electronic wizardry (but it is still electronic). So, you might have considered keeping the shutter open for very long intervals of time (an hour or more). However, because it is an electronic item that is working through the entire time when the shutter is open, the sensor will get hot. This causes an increased level of noise on the photos. If you find that your camera is showing these kind of problems, then consider the option of taking multiple exposures and then combining them using software. And what better software than Photoshop to do all such wizardry on the computer. Get your copy of Adobe Photoshop CS5 now.

Tip 952 (Using a wide angle lens): Once a person asked me in a very simple way – if you leave the shutter open for so long, then the star trails should be so easily caught. I thought over this for 5 seconds and then told him, if I leave the shutter open for a long time but the object that I am shooting is not at the same place and is not very bright, then the shot will not come. The same for star trails. The star position can be dim, and it does not remain in the same, moving to cause the trail. To get as much light as possible, you should open your shutter as much as possible, and hence use an aperture of f/2.8 rather than f/11 for such shots.

Tip 953 (Use manual focus): In most cases, you should set the focus to infinity, and that is after setting the focus type to manual rather than automatic (so that the focus does not change). However, if you are having some object in the foreground, then the focus should be on that object and not on infinity (which is supposed to approximate the position of the stars).

Tip 954 (Do some test shots): You would not really want to put the camera out for 90 minutes and find out that some setting was wrong, or the position was incorrect, or some other problem that ruined the photo. Instead, take a couple of test shots, anywhere between 2-5 minutes long, and view those test shots to see how they are turning out.

Tip 955 (Turn off image stabilization settings on the lens): Image stabilization is not required when the camera is already on a tripod, and in fact, can consume some needed battery power as well.

Some video tutorials from Youtube:

During The Shoot Episode 1: Star Trail Photography

Star Trails Photography

How to Photograph Stars and Meteor Showers

Aputure Timer Camera Remote Control Shutter Cable The Photoshop Darkroom: Creative Digital Post-Processing
Wallmonkeys Peel and Stick Wall Decals – A View of Star Trails

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