Damflask Star Trails

Damflask Star Trail

Night Time Photography

 Damflask Star Trails

Well it was a half – hearted attempt, as planning is sometimes left to the last-minute; the location was a bit tricky, and probably served me right for that. However had a great view of the plough or big dipper to find Polaris for the rotation.

I managed to get 25 frames in at 30seconds shooting at F/8 and ISO200, focal length 17mm at near infinity. I focused upon the light source in the lower left using manual settings at x 10 in live view mode to get the sharp image (never use auto focus). I shot a dark frame (i.e. with the lens cap on for the settings and exposure time) at the end of the 25 frames.

I used Starstax to compile the frames, and Lightroom 4 and CS6 for editing.

Editing

  1. I imported the 26 frames into Lightroom, lens corrected and alter the shadows, whites, blacks and highlights to improve the stars visibility for the 25 frames with light.
  2. I exported the 25 frames and 26th dark frame as jpg at their original sizes and at high-resolution; exported with the original file sequencing number. Starstax will import numbers e.g. 1 – 25 incorrectly.
  3. I imported the first 25 into Starstax, and then added the dark frame separately using the dark frame icon. Then selected lighten as the blending mode, and ticked subtract dark frame (as this removes noise in the images).
  4. I then saved the final image as jpg.
  5. I then chose a suitable image from the 25 frames to act as my foreground.
  6. I imported the Starstax output image and the selected image for the foreground into CS6.
  7. I made a layer of the Starstax image, and split screen view horizontal tiles
  8. I then dragged the Starstax image on top of the preferred foreground image using the move tool ensuring full alignment (the edges of the image will be highlighted when aligned)
  9. I combined the tabs and used history brush to reveal the foreground.
  10. I then edited to suit using the various tools for tone curves and levels

I just wished I had not felt rushed and took a further 50 frames. We live near Manchester Airport and there are lots of planes crisscrossing the sky here and a lot traffic coming over the dam road way (pardon the expression). However the car lights had painted light on part of the dam’s tower. The roadway at the tree line has traffic too, and this also helped a little light painting effect.

This is my third attempt. I do have intentions to try this again and do something a little different. Start nearer sunset or just after, to the experts this is the proper time to start and not when its pitch dark 🙂

 

 

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