Star Trail Help

Prasham

Armchair Traveller :(
I've installed CHDK in my camera and now I can take pictures requiring long shutter speeds for example Star Trails. While reading about how to capture star trails I came across the below pic:




Read some more and found that this kind of pics can be captured if one keeps the focus of the camera in direction of Polaris (North Star), since most of the star revolve around it. Then I read about how to find Polaris but couldn't locate it in the sky last night. I read about the Big Dipper & Litter Dipper and the stuff but couldn't practically locate them in the northern direction of the sky.

Any tips to locate it easily?
 

nishchaya

Dreamer
Draw a line with the last two stars of big dipper and you'll hit the north star. Make sure you're shooting star trails with a clear sky and almost zero ambient light, else you'd be disappointed.
 

hensil

Guru
I've installed CHDK in my camera and now I can take pictures requiring long shutter speeds for example Star Trails. While reading about how to capture star trails I came across the below pic:




Read some more and found that this kind of pics can be captured if one keeps the focus of the camera in direction of Polaris (North Star), since most of the star revolve around it. Then I read about how to find Polaris but couldn't locate it in the sky last night. I read about the Big Dipper & Litter Dipper and the stuff but couldn't practically locate them in the northern direction of the sky.

Any tips to locate it easily?
Hi,
You can also find that from compass, pointing towards north.
Let me warn you, its not simple to shoot long exposure with digital cameras. I believe this picture was shot not with long exposure but by stacking. First do research. If you need any help let me know.
Henry



 
Last edited:

Prasham

Armchair Traveller :(
@ Abhijit: I don't have an Android Phone but will borrow it from a friend. Lets see how it goes.

@ Nischaya: Thanks for the tip but I am not able to locate the big dipper or little dipper.

@ Hensil: I know there are 2 methods to generate star trails. First is taking very long shutter speed shot and second is stacking them using software as you've mentioned.

Right now I am interested in the first method only. If I can't take a similar picture using it, I shall later try the second method.
 

nishchaya

Dreamer
For identifying big dipper, you'll have to keep looking to the sky on a clear, non hazy night. Unfortunately, it comes only with practice. But once you get to know how exactly the big dipper looks like, you'll never forget it throughout your life!

You can read about it here:
Finding the Pole Star

I shot this picture here, with the caption "Dancing stars at Tangste" with a single exposure. I think it was around 20-22 min, can't really recollect the EXIF which is stripped due to resizing:

http://www.bcmtouring.com/forum/travelogues-north-india-f61/ladakh-beyond-obvious-t48104/
 

Prasham

Armchair Traveller :(
Is there any website where I can feed in my location and it can show where to find polaris tonight?


@ Nischaya: Yes I've seen your log and loved it thoroughly. Thanks for sharing the details.
 

Chetan Kulkarni

Super User
@ Hensil: I know there are 2 methods to generate star trails. First is taking very long shutter speed shot and second is stacking them using software as you've mentioned.

Right now I am interested in the first method only. If I can't take a similar picture using it, I shall later try the second method.
Note that your sensor tends to overheat if exposed for a long time. I would strongly suggest not to have exposures longer than 4 minutes. At least that is the empirical time I have deduced from a few friends who have been doing it for a long time.

Is there any website where I can feed in my location and it can show where to find polaris tonight?
If you have a laptop then you can download a free software called Stellarium which will easily locate Polaris for you on location.

Make sure that you travel to a place with no ambient light and preferably close to a new moon night. There are techniques for focusing on infinity. I prefer to reach around sunset and focus on the sun and then lock the AF and switch to manual focus.

Here is a sample taken last year. 81 images taken at f/4, 60 seconds each at ISO 100 on a tripod.

StarTrails.jpg
 
Last edited:

Prasham

Armchair Traveller :(
That's very critical information. So I guess there's no safe way out except using a software :(

- - - Updated - - -

If you have a laptop then you can download a free software called Stellarium which will easily locate Polaris for you on location.
Will I have to feed my location's latitude & longitude for reference or will it need GPS or something.
 

Chetan Kulkarni

Super User
Will I have to feed my location's latitude & longitude for reference or will it need GPS or something.
Normally you have major cities present in the database of the application. I just did a quick check and Surendranagar is already present in its database so no worries on that front :)

BTW the software is not very tough. I will try to see if I have a link to it back home..
 
Top