Star Trails


Ah stars. For thousands of years humans have looked toward them. But how do you capture these beauties of the night? There are a few different methods. I will be talking about capturing star trails.

Star trails work for one reason. The fact that we are insignificant small beings moving around on a planet very, very fast. The earth moving makes it appear as though the stars are spinning around us. It is the reason the ancients believed we were at the center of the universe.

But what does all of this mean? It means that your subject is moving of course. Now, let’s get into it. You will need a few different things. A tripod, a camera with a bulb setting, a remote shutter control, and a good book.

Usually in star shots as much light as possible needs to be captured in a short amount of time. This means a wide open aperture and a higher ISO. But in this case, we want the light to filter in slowly over a greater amount of time.

When shooting the stars, trails will begin to appear in as little as 30 seconds. But the real great shots are a few hours in length. Drop your ISO low, around 100 or 200. Raise the aperture to about 8 and you should be ready to go.

Location is important. Because the shot will be captured over a matter of hours, any light will ruin it. If you can, go out into the country.

To set the shutter open, you will need a remote shutter control or a home made solution. There is no way the shutter button can be held by hand with any kind of final quality.

Place the camera on a tripod. Focus the best you can and then fire the shutter.  Set back, read your book and see what kind of image results. Experiment with times, some shots take 30 minutes and others will take all night. Everything depends on personal preference. Good luck.

Category: How to