Starry Starry Night
Just a quick post this evening of an image taken with my new Nikon D800 during a private nighttime photo shoot of historic Chapel Hill in Shandon, California, with fellow photographer Kevin L. Cole and his wife Anne. Kevin is an expert night photographer who was gracious enough to assist me in my first attempt at shooting stars and star trails. Until my recent purchase of a high-end DSLR with a full-frame sensor, I did not have the capability to capture night shots of the stars due to noise issues and sensor overheating. To say this wonderful camera is an upgrade to my older Nikon with a cropped sensor is an understatement. With a full-frame sensor and 36MP to work with, it is a joy and I look forward to making very large prints for my studio.
This image is a single Camera RAW shot taken at ISO 200 with a 24mm lens at f4 with an exposure time of 150 seconds. There are both star points and star trails visible in the photograph. A bit of light painting was used on the chapel due to the foreground darkness. However, there was a waxing crescent moon directly behind us, which helped light the chapel until it turned orange and set over the surrounding hills. The image was processed in Lightroom 4, Photoshop CS5 (I don’t have CS6 yet), and with onOne Software’s Perfect Effects 6.1.
For more information on Chapel Hill, see my prior post Chapel Hill. I am currently working on the timed sequence of shots I took using an intervalometer to capture circular star trails, which will require running a stacking script in Photoshop. I will post more images as I process them. We aimed our cameras at Polaris in order to render circular star trails. A compass is essential when planning these excursions, as well as the wonderful app TPE – The Photographer’s Ephemeris. Check the iTunes app store to purchase this indispensable utility.