How To Photograph Star Trails

Posted on by Steve

So, have you ever wondered how to shoot star trail photos? What about how to handle the RAW image files? What about how to post process and stack ’em? Everything you need to know is answered in the video below! Oh, make sure you subscribe to my YouTube channel too so you never miss a video!

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13 Responses to How To Photograph Star Trails

  1. Fran says:

    Great video!

  2. Donald Jones says:

    Great video. Each tip was as good as the last. And beautiful result.

  3. Gerald Botkin says:

    Thank you Steve. That was great!

  4. verdon says:

    Thank you Pete, amazing video with a tons of very strait down info without useless talking, that’s the way how to do it, well done!!! Thnx Verdon!

  5. C. Everson says:

    Great tip. Thanks

  6. Xian says:

    It was great, thank you.

  7. Andy Wright says:

    Nice job, Steve. I picked up your work on FM. Stunning shot from Z Point!
    Looking forward to using your technique. I’m a Canon guy, so I hope the continuous shooting mode, with locked down cable release will work for me. Up ’til now, I’ve used an intervalometer, but that limits out a 99 shots. I like your idea better, if I can make it work.

  8. Steve Justad says:

    Thank you for this excellent piece of instruction. I remember trying star trails back in the old days of film. I also remember them not turning out very well and pretty much put doing trails out of my mind. With your instruction, I am encouraged to go out and tackle some trails in some choice locations here in Montana.

  9. Dave says:

    Steve: Thanks for this and your other very informative and well produced videos.

    I have a D300 and was wondering if there is an alternative method to locking the shutter with a remote release and using Ch mode of release. e.g. if I am using a 50 mm f 1.4 lens with 30 sec exposures, could I use the interval timing option set to record a shot to regular intervals over a period of 30 mins with 1 second between the shots?

    • Steve says:

      Hi Dave –

      Interval shooting would work fine, but you don’t want that 1 second delay between the shots or you’ll have bigger gap problems than normal. If you can set it so there’s no deal, you’ll be all set.

  10. Dave says:

    Thanks Steve. I am thinking to try this technique, weather and volcano permitting, at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park with the Halema’uma’u Crater in the foreground. The lava vent in this crater produces a red glow and steam the position, size, brightness and intensity of which changes almost continually so over a long exposure might result in an amorphous blob. I am thinking to use the stacking app to get the star trails but then use photoshop to cut in a single, hopefully more distinct foreground . Is this feasible and should I adjust the exposures to compensate for the lava glow?

    • Steve says:

      Hi Dave –

      That sounds like a really cool concept. However, without being there I have no idea how to do the exposure. There’s a heck of a chance that the lava glow will be enough with the 30 second exposure to make it work, depending on your ISO and F/stop. I’d make sure I took a fe w”insurance” shots at twilight just in case though.

      Have fun!!


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