Star Trails Among the Redwoods – Can I Take A Photo While Snoozing?

We can’t go too long without another star trails photo, can we?

Title: Treehouse Star Trails
Info: Nikon D90, Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8, stacked photos totaling 100 minutes, stacking 200 individual photos of 30 seconds each (ISO 800, f/4). The almost vertical streak near the middle is a shooting star. Light painted the trees by aiming a bright flashlight down on the wooden deck where the camera was. 21 June 2012.
Photographer: Ken Lee

Taking long exposure star trails photos aren’t necessarily always heroic, I’m-freezing-in-the-middle-of-the-night-desert affairs.  The above photo, for instance, was taken not long ago when I was staying in a little cabin called The Treehouse in Guerneville, Sonoma County, California, USA.

I set up my camera on a tripod on the main deck, with the camera looking almost straight up in the sky, right at the tops of the trees.

I “light painted” the trees by pointing my absurdly bright flashlight down at the wooden deck. Why? Because I didn’t want the trees to be really white colored or overexposed by the bright flashlight, and pointing out down at the wooden deck created a much warmer light.  I did this for easily less than a minute, taking up only two individual photos (this is “stacked”, with each individual photo being 30 seconds in length). I piled some furniture in front to keep critters away.

Then….I went to sleep.

The almost vertical streak near the middle is a shooting star.  It’s a one hour, 40-minute exposure in total.  Cool, eh?

 Find out more about star trails photography, including how to stack photos here.

Equipment:  Nikon D90, Tokina AT-X 116 Pro DX AF 11-16mm f/2.8 Lens For Nikon