Hi everyone and welcome to today’s post. In my last post I promised to leave the waterfalls for a bit and post something “other worldly”. I think today’s star trail shot qualifies for “other worldly”. I was at Crater Lake National Park about a month ago and found it to be one of the darkest places I have ever been. The night sky was amazing and every evening you could see the Milky Way glowing brightly and stretching across the sky from horizon line to horizon line. I did not anticipate shooting a star trail shot but after I found this amazing remnant of a white bark pine I had to give it a go. The tree clings to an out cropping of rocks along the crater rim and can be found on the West Rim Drive at an overlook near Hillman Peak. Despite the dark sky I still had an issue with the ambient light coming from the Crater Lake Lodge which can be seen in the lower right hand side of the image. But after working on the file I came to like the amber glow that frames Garfield Peak. You can also see part of the Milky Way which is the blurred area in the upper right.
Technical Details: Image was shot with a Nikon D3x and a Nikkor 15mm Rectilinear Lens. The image was pre-framed when I still had some light. The 40 minute, one-take, exposure was made at ISO 400 at f5.6. I started the exposure at 9:30 which was well after astronomical twilight to ensure a very dark sky. I used an electronic release with a timer to make the exposure. With 3 minutes to go I light painted the pine using an 80 lumen LED flashlight. I shone the light through my moving fingers which acted as a light diffuser. Just a word of caution when working with single exposure star trails. Make sure you do not turn off your camera after the exposure is made. After your shot the camera will take the same amount of time as your exposure time to process the image. Final processing was done in Photoshop and consisted of a series of layer to bring out details in the tree and the star trails. A small amount of noise reduction was also performed.
Thank you for stopping by today.