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How to Photograph Star Circles

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Massimo
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How to Photograph Star Circles

Unread post by Massimo » Tue Jun 08, 2010 10:59 am

Hi All.

Im going to Kruger in 9 days and i would really like to test one thing out! That is to try and take a photo of the sky at night but the star's and sky look circular! I hope you guys understand what im basically looking at doing! I have no clue as what i need to do and i would like to know if there is anyone out there that can give me some? I have a Canon 450 D with a 18-55mm IS lens along with a 55-250 lens!!

cant wait to start :cam: :cam: :cam: :cam: :cam: :cam: at the wildlife big and small!!!
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Re: Want to take star circles

Unread post by RUMURUTI » Tue Jun 08, 2010 11:06 am

Massimo wrote:Hi All.

Im going to Kruger in 9 days and i would really like to test one thing out! That is to try and take a photo of the sky at night but the star's and sky look circular! I hope you guys understand what im basically looking at doing! I have no clue as what i need to do and i would like to know if there is anyone out there that can give me some? I have a Canon 450 D with a 18-55mm IS lens along with a 55-250 lens!!

cant wait to start :cam: :cam: :cam: :cam: :cam: :cam: at the wildlife big and small!!!



Hi Massimo, I thinks I gots what you want o do.
First of all you need a strong tripod, second set your focus on infinity, third shot using long shutter speed. You will probably have to experiment and see how long you have to keep your shutter speed at.

Hope it is clear enough!
"You can leave Africa but Africa never leaves you"
LIFE IS MADE OF GOOD AND BAD THINGS, I TAKE THE GOOD AND YOU CAN KEEP THE BAD!!!
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Josh of the Bushveld
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Re: Want to take star circles

Unread post by Josh of the Bushveld » Tue Jun 08, 2010 11:09 am

And try find the darkest spot you can. If there is any other light in the field of view (including the moon), it will be a problem
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Switchback
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Re: Want to take star circles

Unread post by Switchback » Tue Jun 08, 2010 11:17 am

Hi Rumuruti,

If you want the "perfect" circular effect, you have to point your camera dead south. Then, set your camera on a tripod (pointing south), set your ISO to as low as possible and camera on TV (shutter priority). Set your shutter speed to about 30 sec or bulb mode. (I use 30 sec, take 15+ photos and stich them together with Photoshop, otherwise you may get too much noise). You also get spescialized software for star trails photos that stich them together perfectly.

When pressing the shutter, either use a remote or a shutter delay so that the camera settles on the tripod from your push on the shutter button before it starts taking the shot. Remotes are cheap and I have found quite a few uses for them.

Yes, focus on infinity or, if there is a subject that must be part of the shot, light the subject with a torch, manually focus on it and leave your camera then on manual focus. Your 18mm lens will be the one to use, and use it with your lens as open as possible, big apperture, small number.

All the best! :thumbs_up:
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bert
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Re: Want to take star circles

Unread post by bert » Tue Jun 08, 2010 7:50 pm

If you have a noise reduction on your camera please use it
And a full battery.
Best is to use a remote.
Google Arnoud Quanjer.
He has a good easy to learn topic about star circles/trails

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Re: Want to take star circles

Unread post by DuQues » Wed Jun 09, 2010 10:04 am

Here is Arnoud's website.

Stitch photos with Autostitch. That's free, fast, and gives great results. All my pano's have been put together with it.
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Re: Want to take star circles

Unread post by Dreamer » Sun Aug 08, 2010 9:39 am

Hello :D Browsing this thread on this rainy Sunday morning in CT I found this thread.
Thought I would post my very amateurish shot of a star trail which I attempted in March in KTP.
Had loads of fun trying this, including running over to other guests in the park and asking them please to leave their lights switched off :lol:
It was also a very full moon and the longer I was taking to set this up the faster the moon was coming up from the left behind the tree so this was not taken in pure darkness :?
Used wide angle
Pointed South
ISO 100 @ F4
Bulb Setting Cable release
15 min exposure
Manual focused on infinity


The result was this, rather no but I was thrilled as it was my first attempt :D Would loved to have got more of the right hand side of the circles in but I suppose you can't win them all :D

Image
At home...... dreaming of next trip to KTP

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Jo
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Re: Want to take star circles

Unread post by Jo » Tue Aug 10, 2010 8:07 pm

Hi M

Also been experimenting with star trails.....usually do it with the good old 35mm slide film.....camera doesn't overheat, but eats up the lithium batteries! Tried a few in KTP with the DSLR 35-80 lens, think I left it on F8, focus infinity, tripod, aimed due South, exposed for 30min.....unfortunately overdid the torch work on the tree, and needed more space for the sky......thats why we keep going back!....Good luck!

Image

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Re: Want to take star circles

Unread post by NightOwl » Mon Sep 06, 2010 10:35 am

If you want the circle of the startrails centered, you need to point the camera at "celestial South" and not just South. Celestial south is in the sky and thats where the stars will revolve around. Take the southern cross's long end and extend it 4 times towards the bottom end of the cross. Then take a right angle line between the to pointer stars next to the Southern Cross and extend that till it intersects with your first line. Point your center focus point to this area in the sky and your star trail will be centered.

In the Northern hemisphere, just point at the North Star.

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Re: Want to take star circles

Unread post by NightOwl » Mon Sep 06, 2010 10:37 am

To do a star trail without using stiching software, hook the Camera up to your laptop with the supplied USB cable. Then use the controll software that usually bundles with the camera (Canon it's EOS Utility). You can then do longer than the 30 second exposures.

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Re: Want to take star circles

Unread post by DuQues » Fri Sep 10, 2010 10:34 am

NightOwl wrote:In the Northern hemisphere, just point at the North Star.

Polaris is the name of a star much more commonly called the North Star. Polaris lies less than one degree from the celestial North Pole, an imaginary point directly over the Earth's own North Pole. Polaris is not particular bright, contrary to what many people may think, so finding it in the heavens is not a sure thing, even when facing north. However, it is possible to use a constellation close to Polaris, and one that you will easily recognize, to locate this beacon of the northern sky.

Find the Big Dipper in the northern sky. This is not a constellation unto itself but rather a portion of a much larger star grouping called Ursa Major, the Big Bear. Look for seven bright stars that seem to be of the same luminosity that form the pattern of a ladle. Three stars make up the Dipper's handle and four stars form the outline of the Dipper's bowl.

Locate the last two stars at the very end of the bowl of the Big Dipper. These are the two stars known as the "pointers," since you will utilize them to point the way to Polaris. Polaris is the very end of the handle of the "Little Dipper," which is officially called Ursa Minor, the Little Bear. However, the other six stars in the Little Dipper are quite faint, requiring a clear night for you to see them. Concentrate your efforts on Polaris for the moment.

Trace a straight line from the bottom pointer star upwards through the top one. Continue the line outwards and away from the two pointer stars for about three times the distance your outstretched fist seems to cover when the sky is in the background. This will take you to a star that has about the same brightness as most of those in the Big Dipper. This is Polaris, the North Star.

Notice how during the course of the evening Polaris does not seem to move, although the Big Dipper does. This is due to the rotation of the Earth. As your position changes in relation to the fixed stars in the heavens, the stars seem to move in the sky, except for Polaris, which is "anchored" at the point over the North Pole. The Big Dipper will move counter-clockwise around Polaris as the evening progresses. Venture outside at three-hour intervals and this will be quite apparent.

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pepperjuice
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Re: Want to take star circles

Unread post by pepperjuice » Fri Sep 10, 2010 5:01 pm

For long exposures SWITCH OFF IS/VR

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Re: Want to take star circles

Unread post by Wild@Heart » Thu Sep 23, 2010 8:31 am

Please can someone help me ... How do I set my 55 - 250 IS Canon lens to focus infinity .. There's not button on the lens like the 400mm ... I want to try my hand at star trails this weekend even though not ideal (full moon, clouds etc) .. but I figure I have a better chance than in the city :D
NO TO HOTEL DEVELOPMENT IN KRUGER

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Re: Want to take star circles

Unread post by DuQues » Thu Sep 23, 2010 1:32 pm

Ah! You have no distance scale on your lens...

So what you need to do is to focus on something far away, like a cloud or a tree on a distant hilltop or such. It doesn't have to be miles away, just far enough.
Now you can see which way the focusring will turn far, and not far at all in the other direction. Keep that in mind, clock- or anti clockwise and when the light is gone just turn it all the way.
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