Finally a clear night sky for Canberran summer (pissing rain and cloudy for the past 2 months). I didn't get there till about 12.30 am. Spent another hour looking for a nice foreground while at the same time it needs to be away from light pollution, but in the end I decided to make do without any foreground. It was an amazing night sky tonight, plenty of shooting stars (I think I spotted 3), the Orion constellation, Southern cross and I even had a partial shot of the Milky Way.
How to shoot startrails:
I was lucky to be able to shoot in the middle of two poles (South and North), but as I mentioned above, this was honestly a coincidence. If you want to shoot startrails with complete circles, then you will need to know exactly where the poles are. If you're in the Southern hemisphere, look for Southern Cross and the South Pole won't be far off. If you have a smartphone, download Google's Sky Map app - available for Android, but not so sure for iPhones.
This is my other startrails photo but with complete circles.
94 photos with ISO 1250, 40 seconds each, and 1 second apart (to allow the camera to save) - all stacked in Photoshop CS5.
Used an intervalometer (or remote camera timer) to program the exposure length and slept in the car while the camera was clicking away. The 94 is not a pre-determined number. I wanted to take 120 but I just couldn't wait any longer.
Manual focus (focus to infinity), turn off Vibrance Reduction (VR).
File > Scripts > Load files into stack > Add files (Don't align) > OK.
Select first image, and set blend mode to lighten.
Right click layer, copy layer style, then select the rest of the layers and paste layer style.
Flatten image, save as uncompressed TIFF.
Increased saturation to bring out the colours.
Then imported to Topaz Denoise to remove noise.
Imported to Color Efex Pro 4 for some extra details. The image was dry otherwise.
Increased saturation in Lightroom again.
Join my Facebook group for more updates and posts!
My other work: Facebook | Flickr