April 25th – Star Storm

Star Storm

I thought I would try something different tonight – star trails.

I tried last week without much success, so I did a little research and found this article – it’s terrific. Anyone interested in trying it, give it a read.

Star trails can result in some of the most stunning images when done well. DSLR Camera, reasonable lens, shutter release remote and plenty of spare time. Oh, and clear skies. I was 4 from 5.

The sheer number of stars visible from the farm is nothing short of stunning, as you can see in the pic.

I initially tested with some short timed shots looking south-east, towards an electrical storm far away that was providing some spectacular viewing. This is captured as as yellow burning effect on the horizon. There was a lot of trial and error before making it this far, including focus on the foreground trees.

This photo is far from perfect, but for a first timer I can’t complain. I can recommend an exposure time of 40-60 seconds though (other settings were f3.5, ISO 1600). Any longer and you will pick up the movement of the skies and have blurry stars.

Note – the red star trail entering from the right is a north-bound plane.

So now for the longer star trail – using the method of leaving the shutter open for 30-60 minutes (or more). I had everything I needed – I located the south pole (using Sky Safari for iPhone) and footy on TV to pass the time, but by the time I relocated the tripod from the above photo and had a few test runs, the clouds had encroached too far.

In all it’s an extremely rewarding outcome. There was only one occasion that mysterious noises in the pitch black darkness had me running and grasping for my iPhone flashlight, but it just turned out to be Billy – my mother-in-laws curious cattle dog.

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