Friday, May 14, 2010

Star Trails

Last Night was a day where the sky was absent of the moon and a great opportunity to take a picture with star trails. In San Francisco Bay Area, there are not many places one can take such a shot due to all the light pollution in the area. Another interesting added element to star trails is to find something for the foreground that will add to the shot.

Last month while talking to a photo bud of mine, we came up with the idea to use the Lick Observatory at Mt. Hamilton as a foreground for the shot. We would have both elements, absence of light pollution and an interesting foreground. What we did not plan on is how long it would take us to drive from San Francisco to the observatory. The last 18 miles took us an hour and a half due to the very steep and twisty road.

By the time we finally reached our destination it was very late. We set up our equipment and then the bomb hit....I forgot my cable release. Luckily John shoots Nikon as well and allowed me to use his release. Sharing a release for very long exposures is definitely not optimal but I was thrilled John was loaning me his release for at least one shot. After the one good exposure each it was well past midnight and I had to get home.

Next new moon, hopefully the weather will be clear and I remember my release so I may take a few more compositions of this very cool spot for Star Trails.

The Lick Observatory has two telescopes. This is the smaller of the two and as you can see, the scope was moving throughout my exposure.


cdemaine said...

Very cool. I had been thinking about doing star trails just this week. And that's definitely a great spot... except for the drive!

dadwtwins said...

Thanks Cal,

This is the first attempt at star trails. After my missed chance at Death Valley, I just couldn't get the idea out of my head. I was determined to at least try star trails once.