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Stanton, St John the Baptist | by Andrew Stawarz
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Stanton, St John the Baptist

One of last night's star trails taken when checking a site out. A wonderful location with plenty of potential for both night and daytime shoots. With this images I chose to take a slightly upwards view through the nave to try and capture both the tower and chancel arch whilst keeping the pole star at the top right corner.


It was a long night of nearly a 1000 images taken, taking advantage of the really clear night.


The above image was composed of 80 images at 45s f/2.8 ISO200 for the stars (camera on bulb and used an external intervalometer set to take 80 exposures, 46 seconds apart of 45 seconds duration, 1 second delay between each exposure shouldn't make the star trails too choppy) , the remaining 5 images of varying shutter speed and aperture for the light painting of different sections using a 5W LED penlight/torch.


The processing steps were as follows:


1. Using Photoshop CS3 Extended File/Scripts/Statistics browse for the 85 raw files, stack mode = maximum, not align images (the tripod was weighted and thus stable) and hit go. Beware this created a 14GB Photoshop temporary file.


2. 15 minutes later you end up with a smart image layer. Don't expanded the group or start editing unless you have a 64 bit machine with 8GB installed :-) just flatten the layer straight away.


3. At this point I saved the image as a 16-bit TIFF file with AdobeRGB colour profile to be edited in Nikon's Capture NX. If you choose to stay in Photoshop some final curves work would normally be required, then final output resizing and smart sharpening on the luminosity layer in LAB mode before converting the colour profile to sRGB and saving as JPG.


Black & White higher contrast version here.


More recently taken at a wider angle under full moon conditions.

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Taken on April 24, 2009