Star Trails And Fails

So it begins…
   Being new to the photography world, I haven’t had the chance to explore too many of the multitudes of different styles available to experiment with. However before I purchased my cameras I always had a fascination with the photographs I would see that were taken at night, whether it be landscapes, cityscapes, or images of the night sky. You can probably attribute this to me being a night person. So when I purchased my first camera I knew one of the first things I wanted to try was Star Trail Photography.

Fail…And Fail Again

   Now the first time I went out and attempted to take my Star Trail photos, I had images of grandeur, I was certain that my photos would be spectacular! I mean how hard can it be right? You put your camera on a tripod, get a remote for shutter control, and just leave your shutter open for a couple hours. Haha oh how wrong I was. Now if you’re not a novice like me, you can probably imagine how terrible my first images were. Not only was I too close to the light pollution from the city, but there was a full moon, so you can imagine how overexposed my images were.


   I was determined though! Haha I was going to get this image technique down pat, or punt my camera into a large body of water in a fit of rage if I didn’t! After a little research I found that there were several stacking programs that would overlay the images you took to produce the star trail effects. Now at first I was frustrated because I have a mac, and for whatever reason, be it me operating at maximum derpage while searching, or just not paying attention, I couldn’t find any mac specific software. That is until I came across Dr. Russell Brown’s Star Trail Action script for photoshop. FINALLY, my problems were solved! I was for sure going to be on my way to Star Trail Glory!! However, that wasn’t quite the case. While Dr. Brown’s Star Trail Action script does do an excellent job at producing star trails, it wasn’t exactly what I was looking for. I wanted my photos to produce the trail effects, not Photoshop.

Let's Try This Again...

   Upon investigating a little more, I found another one of Mr. Brown’s scripts, his “stock-o-matic” script. This was exactly what I was looking for. What seemed like a basic stacking script! After installing the script, I was pretty impressed at the results when I ran it through my first batch of photos! This is the finished product from the first run through with the Stack-o-matic script.

I took this picture about 5 minutes outside of town(still probably not far enough away from the city lights) at a forest preserve, and was right next to the river(you can see the reflection in the lower right hand corner). I wish I would have thought to incorporate that more into the photo, I guess there's always next time! I’m definitely looking forward to putting this script to better use! So after feeling like an idiot for the better part of a few weeks, I finally got the hang of producing photos with these effects. Now it feels like I’ve been making these photos forever! It’s pretty cool how humbling photography can make you feel, but there isn’t a better feeling when things come together for an excellent shot!

Here's a link to my flickr account, feel free to check out some of my other photos at a higher resolution(They still don't do the full size images justice though!)

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