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Mini Project – Star Photography – Shot at YHA Black Sail, Ennerdale

Stars, long exposure, trails, YHA, Black Sail, Ennerdale, UK, Lake DistrictFor a long time night photography has fascinated me, the patience of the photographers to set up their shots and freeze away waiting for the star trails to appear. With the changing of seasons and a lot of patience on my part for the right time of year when the moon is low enough in the sky so as to not bleach out the stars, autumn arrived in Ennerdale along with a few clear nights so I decided to crack on.

I had a quick sweep on google for a couple of “how to shoot great star trails” and “photos of stars” and armed with a starting point I nipped out after doing the washing up to shoot a couple of frames.
I started out knowing I wanted an exposure time of around 30 seconds [to get a static star shot without trails] and stared with quite a high ISO of 800 and an aperture of f/2.8.
Star Photography 24-9-10 – ISO800 – 24mm – f/2.8 – 30.0s – RAW AND UNEDITED
I shot a few frames and although the first night was quite bright as the moon was still quite high it lit up the valley and the made the clouds almost white as they streaked across the sky and I could make out the stars shining through.
The next night I decided to shoot using the same settings but set up my self timer to shoot 30 second exposures at 10 second intervals.  In post production I then animated all my stills into a movie.
When I was running through the animation I noticed a flash of light through the sky that wasn’t on the frames before or after (unlike with satalites and planes) so I realised it must be a shooting star!
Star Photography 25-9-10 – ISO800 – 24mm – f/2.8 – 30.0s
Happy that I could shoot any star filled landscape given the right scene should I have one of my ‘opportunist photography‘ moments I decided to turn my mind to capturing star trails.
After a good read of Harold Eden’s Blog post on www.Weatherscapes.com I decided to use a starting point of ISO100 – f/6.3 – 2633.0seconds (nearly 45 minutes) and disappointingly came up with the following image!
Star Photography 07-10-2010 – ISO100 – f/6.3 – 2633.0seconds (nearly 45 minutes)
Its obvious to most that the camera moved due to the thundering breeze whipping by but I was happy with the length of the trails to make me want to try again the next night with the addition of gaffer tape to steady the camera on the tripod.
Stars, long exposure, trails, YHA, Black Sail, Ennerdale, UK, Lake District
Star Photography 09-10-2010 – ISO100 – f/5.6 – 4897.0seconds (just over an hour and a half)
I obviously pleased with my results, framed between the hills of the valley and with the glow from the set sun I love this picture (even though some guests wandered about with a torch which was a quick Photoshop jobby!)
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