Star trail alpha

Astrophotography, Photography

Dan and I are experimenting with (amateur) astrophotography. Gives me something to do with my camera when he’s out with his telescope. We wanted to try star trails and found a video on YouTube which was very helpful:

We headed down to Elwood beach last night to try it out, since there were no clouds. My Voigtlander f/0.95 has the best aperture for night sky (2.8 or bigger is recommended), so we used that. However, it is not very wide at 25mm (50mm full frame equivalent) so no foreground, but with all the lights around it would probably be overexposed. We pointed at the Southern Cross and pointers and some of the celestial pole so we’d get more stars and more circular streaks in a limited amount of time.

So here’s the results of our first experiment, using some hasty amateur post-processing and StarStax:

Elwood Beach Star Trail

We were surprised to get as many stars, given the light pollution from the city and the street lights and moonlight around. You can see the pointers (mid right) and the Southern Cross (lower right) as the bright streaks.

We used the widest aperture (0.95) and lowest ISO (200) with corresponding 8 second shutter speed to get neutral exposure. We then used a remote cable to lock the shutter and set the camera to continuous shooting. It lasted about 25mins. There were virtually no gaps between the shots. There were some coma but it doesn’t seem to matter for star trails anyway.

Needless to say, I’m eyeing off a wide angle wide aperture lens. And another trip to the country.