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KyleJones Oct 4, 2007 9:06 PM

Hi all. I just got an idea for a shot, and am doing the first half of it at this minute. Don't hate me, but I'm shooting witha Pentax ME Super- only SLR I can get ahold of. Okay, so here's the thought: I've been playing with multiple exposures for a significant shot count, and am doing my second star trail on this roll rite now. I am going to see my girlfriend tomorrow and was thinking that it'd be cool to multi her onto the frame with the trails as a background. Thing is, I would like her to be solid and like the trails are just a background. Shouldn't be any trees or other things in the trails shot. I was thinking I should put her on an all black and absorbant background and use the flash on low, maybe bounce it. Need it soft, though. Trouble is I'm afraid the background will show up and I really don't want it to. I could, of course, just have hher be semi-transparent. But again I need some lite and a dark background. Any recommendations? I'll try toscan/post the result if I think of anything.Kyle

BillDrew Oct 5, 2007 11:06 AM

I'm assuming that you are shooting film so using something like an hour exposure is not a problem.

A flash shot of your girlfriend is the right technique with the flash intensity set to expose her properly is the right way to go. If you aren't fussy about star trails ending exactly at her "edge" you should be able to get away with using a black painted cardboard cut-out silhouette of her to block the star trails. You might get away with it being smaller and closer since a little bit of unblocked time for star trails might not be to important. Otherwise, full sized and behind her.

No trees etc just requires the right spot to shoot in and/or shooting from a low possition. Perhaps stand her on a chair, stepladder, table, ... Shoot at a new moon so anything you can't avoid in the background has no light on it.

Likely to take a few/several tries to get it right. What with delays getting processing done, this could be a several month project. I'd suggest doing a bunch of tests with a manikin, cutout poster, broom with a dress on it, ... to avoid getting your girlfriend annoyed.

TCav Oct 5, 2007 1:51 PM

I'd leave the star trails shot alone, take another shot of her, and put them together on the computer later. If it doesn't work out, you still have the two shots and you can try something else. If you try to include her as just another exposure, you might lose the work you did on the star trails.

KyleJones Oct 7, 2007 8:27 AM

Thanks fellas. I went ahead and gave it a shot- will see how it turned out when I get this roll developed. If it didn't work then we'll just have to try again sometime, rite? Ended up just shooting the 2 of us in front of a fountain. Really doubt it'll turn out how I wanted it to but maybe it will. If anything the trails will be faint- had to shoot the second half in daylite, but the sun was dipping and it was getting darker where we were. Underexposed just a touch to bring them out. Kyle

BillDrew Oct 7, 2007 6:56 PM

KyleJones wrote:

Thanks fellas. I went ahead and gave it a shot- will see how it turned out when I get this roll developed. If it didn't work then we'll just have to try again sometime, rite? ...
Right. You have the right approach: ask questions, do a bit of reading, and get out shooting.

What you are trying to do illustrates both the strength and weakness of digital. Instant feed back (albeit low resolution) and low cost of shooting would mean you could make several attempts in one night. The weakness is that do have to do some trickery with didgital for really long exposures - long as in half the night. is one of the ways of making synthetic long exposures.

KyleJones Oct 9, 2007 10:19 AM

Well I got the roll back and am horribly disappointed with the results. Nearly all of my double exposures were screwed up in some way, and that is wholely attributed to my own learning curve and not the developer. In fact the lady at CVS was nice enough to not cut the negatives for me, since most of my shots overlapped. I don't think I actually got the shot of us back. Either that or I can't find it anywhere in the background of another picture. I did see it on the negative though, so I'm going to download a PS and try to scan the negative just to see if I can at least salvage a little of it. Downside of film I guess. Results: am I disappointed? Yes. Did I think at a point that I should maybe hold off on the film 'trickery' and learn more about shooting? Yes. Am I going to hold off? Not a chance. Figure if I stop doubling now I'll never start again so I'm going to take shots that are not very important. Do wish I knew what I did wrong though. Why does a digital star trail shot have to be half the nite?Kyle

BillDrew Oct 10, 2007 9:33 AM

KyleJones wrote:

... Why does a digital star trail shot have to be half the nite?Kyle
It doesn't have to be any specific time. The longer the time, the longer the star trails so getting very long trails will take something like all night or at least half the night.

KyleJones Oct 10, 2007 5:50 PM

Okay. I was thinking digital had something different than film. Kyle

VTphotog Oct 10, 2007 8:26 PM

What lens are you using for the star trails? A normal, or wide angle lens will take much longer to show a trail than will a telephoto. As any motion is magnified with telephoto, so will be star trails, though you will get correspondingly less of the total sky.


KyleJones Oct 11, 2007 12:30 PM

I was using a 50mm for the problem of few stars available to me at the time in my field of view. Thetele's field of viewwould'veincludedabout6 stars.Kyle

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