helicopter trails

helicopter trails

Originally uploaded by kaiyen

One of the wonderful things about film photography that I really enjoy is the kind of mystery about the results. You literally have no idea how it’ll turn out until you not just get home but develop the results. Unfortunately, that means that sometimes you missed the shot that you wanted.

Last night, even though I was shooting digital, I got the mystery, but sadly also got the disappointment.

Getting star trails – where the stars turn into lines streaking across the sky – via “stacking” is done by taking a series of photographs of a shorter duration, each with a little tiny streak. Then you put them all together and all those small streaks become long ones.

Once you get your initial exposure settings down, you just start shooting. Sometimes it’s 12 one minute exposures, sometimes it’s 60 one minute ones. Both are for an hour of time and star trails, but done very differently.

You don’t know the results until you get home, though, and use the software to stack everything together. Unfortunately, I did sometime wrong, I guess, and the trails aren’t that prominent. In this one, only Jupiter, which is far brighter than other heavenly bodies, came out and it’s a small streak at that.

The helicopter that was flying around looking for a wanted man (what a night) made for some interesting results, but the star trails bit didn’t work…oh well.

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