Star Trails

We have had some uncharacteristically very clear nights …

here in Vasterbotten recently and I decided to take the opportunity to shoot the stars and also star trails.

Star Trails

Now I wasn’t expecting …

the clear nights so when they came I neede somewhere close that would provide a suitable shooting spot so I went outto the lake at Ultervattnet, a favourite spot of mine and you can see images shot there at sunset on my blog as well. I didn’t like the star trails that I shot on the first night, but the following night was also crystal clear so this time I went out to the ski lodge at Bygdsjilium and got a great set of trails … though I probably need to shoot even longer for these!

Star Trails

I thought that I would get good darkness …

on top of the ski hill, especially at this time of year. No such luck! There is a factory right at the bottom of the hill which¬† operates 24h a day and probably 7 days a week, fortunately I want the North Star in my image and that was virtually overhead so the light pollution didn’t really factor in to the image. I found the north star easily by following the pointers in Ursa Major (I usually check with the position of Cassiopeia as well, which is on the opposite side of the North Star to Ursa Major)

The featured image …

shows the star trail image that I was shooting for over these two nights and the other two images are straight shots of the lake at night (actually around midnight) and the constellations that are visible. Indeed, looking at the stars and the constellations was another reason for going out on these nights and I was sure to take my binoculars with me.

The tree that you see …

in these images was lit by a porch light outside a cabin about fifty meters away! The exposure was around 20 seconds at f3.5 and iso 4000.


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2 thoughts on “Star Trails

  1. Very attractive, almost Van Gogh like. Really only 20 seconds exposure though??

    I notice that most star trails describe arcs but occasionally, like yours, the stars travel in a spiral path. What gives?

    • Hi JPD

      Many thanks for your comments. Each image was indeed 20s, however there were about 120 images to make this final picture so actually the exposure is about 40 minutes or so! The vortex effect happens when you very gradually zoom your lens during a long exposure of about an hour. I achieved this in post by using LR Timelapse to and Lightroom to make the gradual zoom. The images are then stacked in Starstax to produce the effect. If you leave out the zooming step then you do indeed get the circles. Hope that helps, let me know if you need more detail.


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