On the Road is a weekday feature spotlighting reader photo submissions. From the exotic to the familiar, whether you’re traveling or in your own backyard, we would love to see the world through your eyes.
On the Road continues, forever Alain’s in our hearts.
I suppose it’s wrong of me to wish that we could have NEOWISE every week? Though these are lovely, too! ~WaterGirl
I’ve long said star trails are easy to shoot, and they are since you are freed from many of the constraints that you normally face in landscape astrophotography. You don’t have to worry about limiting exposure time to get pin point stars, you don’t have to have the lens wide open to let in the most light possible and you don’t need to bump up your ISO (light sensitivity).
They do take a lot of time to shoot. Two of the shots you see here were 90 minute shots and one was 81 minutes. I generally shoot these in 30 second or 1 minute intervals and then put them together in post as well as the foreground. Since these are composed of multiple long exposures, having sufficient battery power, composition and proper focus on the stars is important. All of these shots are shots that needed to be retaken since one or several of these conditions were not met.
When you drive up US-395 to the Owens Valley you will see a Red Hill just after you pass Little Lake, they highway curves to the west of the hill. When I went up to Mt. Whitney in February I stopped here to take pictures and determined that this would be the perfect shot for star trails. I originally shot this with my NX1 and my 16-50mm zoom lens with the stars focused at 16mm, when I set it on the tripod the weight of the front of the lens moved it out to 18mm and so 90 minutes of shots were slightly out of focus. When I re-shot this, I used my 12mm prime lens.
The stars circle around Polaris over Mt. Pinos at the northern end of the Lockwood Valley. At the lower left is comet NEOWISE. I originally shot this several years ago. The place where I normally shoot was blocked off so I shot by the side of the road and so the composition was poor and my battery wasn’t fully charged leading to only a 45 minute star trail.
Star trail over the rocks north of the the Ryan Mountain trailhead. One star trail below and slightly to the right of Polaris goes a bit off. This is because a flare from the ISS showed up in one of the shots. Again this was a re-shot due to the lens zoom moving. I shot the multi-row panorama so my lens was focused on the stars, I moved the tripod to get a more favorable position for Polaris over the rocks and the lens moved from 16mm to 20mm. I re-shot this with the same lens on my last trip to Joshua Tree taking great care to look at a one-to-one preview of the shot before I started taking the series of photos for the star trails.