Wandering Sky

Astrophotography has always been a passion of mine, but one I only pursue on rare occasions. View large!

Fellow nature photographer Ethan Meleg and I traveled to an iconic location in Killarney Provincial Park just in time for some good evening night and plenty of time to settle in for some star trail photography. The location was perfect, the weather was exceptional and the mosquitoes were terrifying. After we each experimented with single exposures of the starry landscape, we switched gears into star trail mode and let the cameras sit for over an hour, collecting light in 30-second segments.

Just as I set the camera to begin shooting the star trail sequence, a large green meteor lit up the sky. The brightness was too intense for the camera to capture on the actual meteor, but the reflection on the water shows a dimmer reflection and the true colours. I was thrilled! I think this is my favourite star trail image to date.

I pushed the limits of technology with this shot, edging up to ISO 8000. With the Canon 1D X, images taken at this level of sensitivity can be tamed, especially when multiple exposures can be used to remove noise in the foreground. I was test-driving a Canon 14mm lens for this shot, which makes it the first star trail image I’ve attempted with a non-fisheye lens, and I love the framing I was able to achieve. It was “version 1” of the lens, but it still performed admirably.

142 frames, each 30 seconds long make up the final image, resulting in an exposure around 71 minutes long, plus the “gap time” between shots. The images are pretty easy to combine together in Photoshop in a basic way, for those curious about the process. I wrote about it in an article for the Digital Photography School that you can find here: http://digital-photography-school.com/tips-photographing-star-trails/

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