Night photographers are fortunate to have many ways to interpret a subject. The night sky can be captured with a stunning Milky Way core, or as a deep sea of stars that register as thousands of points of light. We can illuminate the foreground to give the sky a sense of place, use filters to give the stars a look or use longer times to render the stars as trails across the sky.

Star trail photos are fun to shoot, and they bend reality by dilating time in a way otherwise perceive. Yet, taking the picture star trails is rife with potential obstacles, from camera to stray light and more.

show you how to create star trails by using a special technique that works around those potential things star stacking. In this first post I’ll discuss how to for star stacking, to process the images, and I’ll teach how to rid your stacks of plane trails and other artifacts of the process.

here are two primary methods of creating star trails: capturing one long or capturing many short and stacking them together in Photoshop or other similar programs. The latter involves more post-production work, so why would we choose that? Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of each method.

apturing the night sky , with many different considerations to create the final image, and clicking the picture a star stack certainly doesn’t make it simpler. Here’s a basic outline of necessary steps:

  • Set White Balance.
  • Determine and set aperture and shutter speed.
  • Turn off volume.
  • Compose.
  • Focus.
  • Run a high ISO test.
  • Calculate the way.
  • Program your intervalometer.
  • click the picture.


With any type of photography—day or night—we need to adjust our camera’s settings to suit the situation. Figure 1 shows a good general place to start for your nighttime test taking picutre:

Once your camera is set, you have a composition and you’ve focused your stars, it’s time to make some test . The test will help you fine-tune your composition and ensure your stars clearly. We run these tests at high ISOs so that we can run them faster—we don’t want to waste time running tests that are 5 minutes each!

It’s easiest to start with a shutter speed that will render the stars as dots rather than dashes. This will help you determine if the stars are actually clear. (It will also render a usable star point or Milky Way taking the picture, so you’ll have that in the bag too!)

Calculating the proper shutter speed is best done using the night photographer’s. Open the Spot Stars pill. First, near the top right, choose the camera you’re using. Then input your focal length.

You’ll use the same test picture data to calculate for stacking.

The shorter of those combinations bythemselves would not produce very long star trails. But when we picture a lot of frames and stack them together later, these combinations will create trails as long as we want them to be. You’re really free to choose whatever combination works best to achieve your vision.

Just keep one thing in mind: Because you can’t use lenr with this technique, you’ll want to keep your shutter speed short enough. This limit is different for different cameras in different conditions, so it’s a good idea to test your camera to learn how it behaves. But as a benchmark, a 2-minute shutter speed is safe for many cameras in most situations. If you don’t know for sure that your shutter can stay open longer without resulting, then just stick with that 2-minute limit and you should be OK.

We’re finally ready to make pictures!

In terms of how many frames to picture, that depends on how long you want your trails to be. If you want an hour and you’re taking the picture 5-minute , then you’ll need 12 frames. you can program your intervalometer to 12 times. Or you can set your intervalometer’s number of picture to infinity, and just stop it manually when you feel like you have enough to work with.

Once the intervalometer is set, click the start button, sit back and enjoy the night sky.

And while you’re at it, be sure not to touch your tripod! If your tripod moves even a smidge, your frames won’t align in Photoshop later. That can be fixed, but it’s best.

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