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Look up and see the stars | by Recombinant Rider
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Look up and see the stars

Copyright Joanne Leung

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***edit*** How to do this

All it is is that:

1) I pointed the camera to the general north direction (the north star is very close to the center of the star trails),

2) set the focal length of the 17-40mm f/4 lens at manual focus, aligning it perfectly to the infinity mark.

3) Set the camera on a tripod. Use a shutter release button so you can expose it for more than 30seconds using the bulb exposure (I used the manual mode). I set on my shutter release timer to expose for about 15 minutes at the lowest f/stop (f/4).

4) Set also the timer to delay exposure for 2 seconds or 10 seconds, doesn't matter, so that your motion from pressing the button won't move the camera.

5) let it expose for 15 minutes. in the meantime, I usually hang around the camera because I'm paranoid someone is gonna take it away. Usually it's freezing cold as well :/

6) done. Voila! The picture looked almost the same as before any photoshop enhancement. Really satisfying stuff!


A few other things to remember:

1) It is important that you do this in an area that is close to pitch black, since even the smallest source of light in the frame can overpower the light from the stars. In this shot the trees were lit by a distant camp fire after most people had gone to bed.

2) The sky is clear without too many clouds;

3) know the time of the moon rise or set, avoid the moon, so that it does not ruin the shot

4) If a car drives by with their headlights on, curse at them cuz your shot is ruined :o

5) Doing this within a 100 mile radius of a city will give you a brighter background and a lot less stars.

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Taken on May 24, 2009