Stair Trail Using Slow Exposure

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by monfor5, Sep 8, 2010.

  1. monfor5

    monfor5 TPF Noob!

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    Hi All,

    This is a post from a blog I run called Landscape Photography Tips & More | The Omniscape Photography Blog. Enjoy!

    The Making of "Star Struck" - by Brandon Broderick

    Greetings Omniscape Photography fans, and welcome to our first blog. For this blog, I’ll be discussing my landscape fine art photo entitled "Star Struck". This photo was taken in Northern Ontario near the town of Kirkland Lake. I had always been interested in photos of the stars, and more specificly, photos of star trails. After lots of trial and error, I was finally figuring it out and decided it was time to get a bit creative with it.



    [​IMG]


    The night this photo was taken, there was a full moon so I had to take advantage of it. I’ve taken photos of the moon before but wanted to use it in a different way this time. I set up my shot so I had the moon at my back. This would allow me to still photograph the stars and allow the moon to illuminate the foreground. This is a single 15 minute exposure. The only editing done was a slight temperature adjustment and some minor noise reduction.

    Lastly, here’s a simple tip for these night shots. Always try and set up your shot before it gets dark. It is still possible to set up the shot in the dark, however I find that composing a shot and making sure focus is correct is much easier to do during daylight hours.

    Equipment used:
    Camera: Canon EOS 5D mk II
    Lens: Canon EF 14mm f/2.8 L II USM
    Tripod: Gitzo GT2541 carbon fiber tripod
    Tripod Head: Manfrotto 488RC2
     
  2. Flash Harry

    Flash Harry TPF Noob!

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    Not long enough
     
  3. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    And too much light pollution to boot.

    Here's a tip. Take a picture just like the one you did, then take about 50 in a row for half as long as you did. Stack the 50 using a maximum value algorithm, that'll create startrails and keep the sky much darker, then in photoshop blend the foreground of the original photo together with the stacked to bring out the foreground again.

    Play with stacking. It'll open up a whole new world of possibilities for you.
     
  4. guzziknight

    guzziknight TPF Noob!

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    Which program do you use for the stacking?
     
  5. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I used ImageStacker, but now I'm migrating to Deep Sky Stacker. It's free and looks like it may be more powerful. I've yet to pull something decent out of it but I have seen some amazing results from people who use it.
     
  6. pbelarge

    pbelarge TPF Noob!

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    Garbz
    Could you recommend some reading/tutorials on stacking?
    Thanks
     
  7. guzziknight

    guzziknight TPF Noob!

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    Looks like Deep Sky Stacker is a PC only program. Any MAC compatible ones out there?
     
  8. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I did see Keith's Image Stacker Keith's Image Stacker did have a mac version. But I have used neither the mac, nor the windows versions.

    I haven't seen much in the way of a tutorial but Keith's site also offers a nice explaination of the stacking to increase exposure technique: How Image Stacking Works along with information on why stacking 20 seemingly black images can result in an image with a lot of detail that isn't at all visible in any frame regardless of how you play with it. Contrary to popular belief, noise is our friend in this case.

    The Deep Sky Image stacker website has some good background theory too: The theory or How to create better images Beyond the mathematical theory all that needs to be done is read the manuals. Each program works slightly differently, apparently you can also do this in Photoshop too using Smart Objects though I've never tried it.

    What I was talking about above to extend startrails without increasing the light pollution was a function of ImageStacker (haven't looked if Deep Sky can do it too). This function takes the maximum brightness value across all photos and stacks that to the final value. Here's a 2 hour example of this maximum value process. The result is made of 200 30 seconds pictures with a 5 second cooldown time in between images. (you can break camera sensors if you overheat them, not sure if this is still a problem but it definitely was with cameras of 2+ years ago). If you zoom in all the way on the original you can just make out gaps between the stars from the individual exposure, but not on a normal sized image: http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1353/773160897_fae20200db_b.jpg
     
  9. Josh66

    Josh66 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Even without zooming in, it still looks a little (and I mean "a little" as in, barely noticeable) jagged... Definitely not the same as film ... but I do think you did the best that is possible with today's digital technology.
    It looks good ... just not quite the same as film.

    All I mean is that you can tell, within seconds, that it was captured digitally... That doesn't mean it's bad - I like it. All it means is that it's different.

    I wonder how long it will take digital to match film in very long exposures (longer than an hour)...?
     
  10. jake337

    jake337 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    What about using multiple cameras? They would have to be identical cameras with identical lenses and as close to each other as possible. Then stitch them together in PP. Possible???
     
  11. Josh66

    Josh66 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Possible, I guess - but that would be a lot of work.

    The main problem is the sensor heating up, right? I think the easiest solution would be finding a good way to keep it cool.
     
  12. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Which is why cameras dedicated to astrophotography have massive heatsinks on the back of the sensors.

    I actually remember seeing on a website someone built a cooled enclosure that keeps his 350D at around -10degC and below. All in the name of reducing noise while tracking stars with his telescope, Quite overkill :)
     

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