Glory Hole Star Trails

Star Trails at Glory Hole Camp
 
Tech Info: Tech Info: D300s | Tokina 12-24 @12mm | ISO 200 | 4 min X 30 ~ 2 Hrs
 
An attempt at star trails done during last year camping season.
 

The weather prediction for our last camping trip at Glory Hole was cold, cloudy, showers with thunderstorms. I had decided to skip it as I hate camping in the rain. Well, I do like getting wet and playing with kids in rain, but its the mess that comes later that I don’t like. And camping in such a condition would mean a lot more work and that puts a lot of stress on my injured back. My friends weren’t taking no for an answer and pressured me into joining them. I’m glad I did it as my back was not that badly hurt and we had fun.
 
Camping is lots of fun and I look forward to getting clear skies without any light pollution. But during this camp the idea of doing a star trails wasn’t there due to the bad weather. But on one evening, my friend noticed the clear skies and I rushed to get couple of attempts done before it got cloudy and managed to get an average shot out of it.
 
We’ll be doing another one pretty soon and by that time I’ve to make sure to work on my compositional skills for it. Having trees with lots of leaves and in a windy condition, isn’t such a good idea. Probably in a few weeks, you’ll see whether I’ve learnt my lesson or not 🙂
 
In my previous attempts, I was using a freeware program to stack the multiple starry shots to get that trail. Its called startrails.exe. It’s a windows only program and does a good job at it. There are also lots Photoshop actions available to get the same thing done. Just google for it and you’ll get some. For this one, I used a new freeware called StarStaX. This one has got cool features. If you haven’t checked it out, then it a try. I’m sure you’ll love. It’s also available Mac users too.
 
Here are my previous attempts:
 
Star Trails over Hanover, NH First Attempt at Star Trails
 
Processing:

  1. Used Lightroom 3 to convert all the 30 images to TIFF with adjustments to white balance and noise reduction.
  2. Blended 30 TIFF files using StarStaX.
  3. Cropped to a square format in Lightroom.
  4. Opened the resultant tiff in Photoshop CS4 and added a curves layer for darkening the sky.
  5. Resized the image for web.
  6. Saved as 8 bit jpeg and added metadata, keywords through Bridge.

 
Hover your mouse over the image to see the Before version.