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Old Dec 14, 2008, 5:02 PM   #1
spy
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All I did here before setting out to try this shot was to do some reading on 'star trails'. There are a few techniques out there by others that do this sort of thing.

The two methods of which are 1) one long exposure and hope your settings are correct or somewhat correct, and 2) multiple exposures stacked into one image. The latter is my favorite as you have more control over how the image looks and if for some reason someone drives up with their high beams on, you can just delete that one image from the stack. If however that same person drives up with high beams burning bright on your gear during a 40 minute shoot then the whole shot is ruined.

This shot is about 30 minutes. The glow on Mount Rundle is from the town of Banff, Alberta alive with activity.
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Old Dec 14, 2008, 10:56 PM   #2
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Nice pic. Can you give me more specifics, eg: type of camera and lens used and f-stop. Would you consider a longer exposure time?


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Old Dec 14, 2008, 11:42 PM   #3
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Looks great, I agree any chance sharing your setting?
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Old Dec 15, 2008, 3:35 AM   #4
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Quote:
My first night long exposure..
Capturing theearth's movementit was indeed worth the trouble Bulb exposure with the cable release isattractively plain,stillthe multiple exposure option you mentioned sounds so promising!
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Old Dec 15, 2008, 7:12 AM   #5
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My camera gear for this shot is the Canon 20d, 17 - 85mm IS. Being that this was my first time trying this type of shot I didn't want to push the ISO's past 100 as I was going for one long exposure and there was quite a bit of light shining on the mountain from the town.

I was sure the shutter was 30 minutes or so to make this shot but the info says 1024 seconds (17 minutes). One other similar shot also says 1024 seconds but I was guessing at the timing and I couldn't have released the shutter at the very same time as it was not on a timer.

The mountain didn't look as you see it in the image as the long exposure is bringing out the detail of the trees and rock cliffs when actually it had a white ghostly glow about it with NO detail and you could just make out the outline of it.

The drive here took 1.5 hours so I contemplated my camera settings several times. I was really hoping this wasn't going to be a learn by trial and error event.

One setting I also had turned "ON" was the internal noise removal option. As you may know if you take a 30 minute shot it takes another 30 minutes to process the image. Actually what the camera is doing during this time is taking a "dark frame" shot in order to eliminate not only "noise" but "hot pixels" as well. So....I waited 1 hour to see if the shot was any good. This is a real drag.

Dune, I could have gone longer with the shot but I only had two batteries with me and having not tried this type of shot, and only being able to take 4 shots that night (double your shutter time by 2 because of the internal noise program), all that time eats up the batteries and I was hoping to get at least one good shot out of 4. I don't have a battery grip and the 20d doesn't have a power cord you can plug into the car so the ideal shot would be to have nice long star trails but keep reading and I'll explain how to get them without going out spending $$ for external gear.

My recommendation for doing this type of shot eliminates all the guess work, saves battery life and last but not least of all, there is NO wait time wondering if the shot turned out while waiting for the internal noise program to finish.

1. Shoot RAW and use at least a 4 gig card.

2. Turn OFF the internal noise program. Once the long exposure shot is done, you see your results immediately. If you use CS3, it will remove the "hot pixels" when it opens the RAW files. I use Noiseware Pro to remove the noise so "it's all good".

3. Mount your camera on a good tripod and don't do the "one long exposure" but rather set your camera to burst mode, plug in the remote cable, set the shutter for 30 seconds and lock down the remote and fill the card up with multiple exposures. When it's taken about 80 or 90 shots (don't wait for the battery to die), quickly and smoothly remove the battery and slide in a fresh one and take another 90 shots.

4. Make sure that at least the 1st OR last of your many images addresses the correct exposure of your subject. In this case there are two subjects. 1) the stars, and 2) the foreground. When you "stack" the images together in CS3 everything is exposed correctly.

As far as settings go for fstop, ISO's and shutter, each night shot has it's external light noise and sources like the moon or maybe a driveway lamp or maybe your want to try and "paint" with a flashlight so keep in mind that "ISO's" enhance "highlights" and "exposure" adjusts "shadows"

If you need any more info, just ask.

Kevin
www.poetryofmotion.com
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Old Dec 15, 2008, 11:14 PM   #6
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Thank you for sharing this information with us, Kevin. It's something I am keen on trying, but alas it will have to wait until spring.
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Old Dec 16, 2008, 6:46 AM   #7
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Hi Kevin,

A stunning shot for sure, I really like it and it was well worth the time to get it!!!!

Mark
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Old Dec 16, 2008, 8:23 AM   #8
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You have clearly shown me why my next camera is going to have a B shutter setting. Great shot. Absolutely breathtaking. Thanks.
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