Saturday, January 21, 2012

Late night, down jacket and star trails...

When others were sleeping I was out on my first (real) star trail adventure.  I had one other time attempted to take a star trail photo; using electrical tape and a pen cap to hold down the shutter in "bulb" mode.  Stupid me I jacked up the ISO to something like 800 and the photo was horribly grainy.  So much so that LR couldn't even help it.  Last night was a different story...  I had done a little research as well as invest ($8) in a wired-remote shutter release that allowed me to lock the shutter open.

I hadn't done thorough research though and thought that I would try shooting at f/10 for an hour.  After pressing the shutter button on the remote and locking it, I got back in my car for the hour long wait.  Thankfully a friend had gotten back to me with some pointers.  He told me that I should be shooting wide open.  I got out of the car and went back to my camera to find that I hadn't even set the camera up correctly and it had just taken a 1/20 of a second shot because I forgot to put the camera on "bulb".  With that straightened out I opened my lens up to f/2.8, locked the shutter open and sat back down for the long wait.

Click on an image to see them LARGER!

Here's my test shot.
 ISO 200   -   24mm   -   f/2.8   -   30sec

The crazy glow is Colorado Springs and you can see Pikes Peak to the right
 ISO 100   -   24mm   -   f/2.8   -   50 minutes

Look up once in a while!
 ISO 1600   -   24mm   -   f/2.8   -   30sec

Greenland CO and I-25
ISO 400   -   24mm   -   f/2.8   -   30sec

One cool (Canon) camera feature that I learned about last night was the "Long Exposure Noise Reduction".  Basically the camera takes two images, the one that you exposed for and one with the shutter closed.  The camera then calculates what in the image is useful information and what is noise.  Your final product is a much cleaner image.  The only downside to this feature is that it doubles your exposure time.  Keep this in mind when taking you had only planned on taking an hour long image.  I'm sure if you ran out of battery while this process was taking place, nothing good would come of it.

Just wanted to mention the editing on my 50 minute exposure...  The original image was really washed out which bummed me out.  But I tweaked it a bit to get it to look the way it does now.  Dropped the exposure 4 stops, bumped up the clarity, set it to "strong contrast", played with the "recovery", jacked the blacks up, touch of "vibrance", touch of "noise reduction" and of course the "lens correction" for my 24-70L lens.

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