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05mpwright Sep 28, 2011 1:20 PM

star trails

Fairly new to photography, going to hopefully have a go at a star trail photo tonight. One thing I wanted to check, I intend to do a 1 hour exposure, that won't damage my Canon 550D in any way will it?



Ozzie_Traveller Sep 29, 2011 5:27 PM

G'day Phil

I love doing star trail pix - so may I help 'confuse'' you here :-)

Firstly - as a general comment, a 60minute exposure will not damage the sensor ... the camera maker would not offer it if it was possible to damage the camera - but that said, there are several common sense caveats here

As the sensor is in use, the voltage passing thru it will cause it to heat up [just like every other electrical device] . My pentax tends to over-expose & wash out the image after a 15minute exposure, so I do my star trails via lots of short exposures and stack them on top of each other in the computer

However, I suggest that you try a series of exposures over the next few nights with your camera and see show it performs

I suggest the following:-
ISO-800 x f5,6 x 18mm x 15minutes then 30minutes then 60minutes

ie- see how the cameras goes with 15minutes before going longer & longer
Let us see your results and we'll move on from there :-)

Hope this helps a bit
Regards Phil -2!!

TCav Sep 29, 2011 6:18 PM

I suggest that you do several shorter exposure and combine them into one image.

This is a photo I took with a 60 second exposure (I added the Moon later. I get a kick out of adding a Moon to shots where it doesn't belong. :rolleyes:)
If you can keep your head by TCav, on Flickr

This is one I took of the North Star with a 120 second exposure. The trouble is, in 120 seconds, the northern sky doesn't change very much. To get this image, I duplicated the image repeatedly until I had 11 identical layers. Then I rotated each of them by 0.4, pivoting on the North Star. (Then, of course, I added the Moon, which has no right being anywhere near Polaris. ;))
DSC_4068 by TCav, on Flickr

I suggest you take multiple shorter exposures and combining them. That way, you avoid the possibile problem of an airplane flying through your frame, or other such potential problem.

05mpwright Sep 30, 2011 1:16 AM

Dear Ozzie_Traveller,

Thank you so much for your detailed help, in the end I decided to do loads of individual shots rather than one long one. My photo is made up of 114 30 second exposures compiled together using

I'm sure you've taken much better star trail pictures, but bear in mind this is my first attempt! Feedback however is welcome. Now before anyone says this, I would have liked to have had the pole star in the shot, but decided I'd rather have foreground.


Star Trails by P K Wright, on Flickr

TCav Sep 30, 2011 5:51 AM

I like it. (IMHO, it needs a Moon. :rolleyes:) I like the foreground, especially the glow of the lights just over the hill.

You might try a shorter focal length next time to get Polaris as well as the foreground.

Ozzie_Traveller Sep 30, 2011 6:09 PM

From Phil to Phil

your image is excellent - the use of foreground as well as the startrails works in very well
I also use - have done for several years and love it [occasionally I send a copy to the author as well]
I use anything up to 500 camera images of around 30 seconds x ISO-800 x 18mm x f5,6, starting at dusk to provide an outline of the horizon, followed by the startrail after that

Keep it coming and show us your results :-)
Regards, Phil

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