Monday, December 29, 2008

Star Trails

It has been, yet again, an unfortunately long time since I've been out taking photos. Finally, the night before last, I went to West Clare to try and get some photos of star trails. I've tried this before, but never with much success. This time was definitely better. I think the main thing I have learned about taking pictures of star trails is that it is very important to have a strong foreground. I like the photo with the trails moving around the North Star, but the photos with stuff in the foreground have more potential, I think. I'm going to have to try this again.

Technically the photos were fairly simple. You need to have a remote release for your camera. The first two of this set are single exposures, of about 30 minutes long each. The photo with the more complete trail is a combination of five exposures of varying lengths from five to thirty minutes. This is because the camera can only take exposures of up to half an hour, but also because it's apparently bad to leave the shutter open for too long. I tried combining the exposures in the GIMP without much success, I had much better results with a program available here.

We had a rare perfectly clear night, and also a perfectly clear sunrise the next morning. I'm starting to realise just how much of photography, for me at least, is dependant on the quality of light. In the early morning, with the golden light grazing off everything, creating wonderful texture and colour, I felt like a photographic Midas. Anything I photographed seemed to look wonderful, no matter what the subject. My favourite examples of this are below, the reeds and the stone wall; two subjects that could have been extremely boring in any other type of light. It really pains me to think how rarely we get days like this in Ireland. I can't imagine what it would be like to wake up to this beautiful, textural light almost every morning of the year.


Star Lines B&W

Star Lines

Sun and Brambles

Frosty Bramble


Stone Wall