Sunday, May 15, 2011

How to Take Star Trail Photos

Hey folks! I'm really super duper excited to bring you guys a how-to post on star trails! It's really pretty simple, so hopefully you can follow along easily. To start you'll need a nice and clear night for this, preferably with little moonshine. 
First get your SLR camera, tripod, and a shutter release and set them up facing the north star. The exposure should be 30 seconds (no longer than that), your aperture should be wide open (mine was at f4), and the ISO can vary. I typically set mine anywhere from ISO 200 to 640. Next put your camera on shutter burst and plug in your shutter release. Take a test shot or two for exposure, then put the release into continuous. I leave my camera on our deck to do this, but depending on your location that might not be the wisest idea. Then let it go for anywhere from twenty minutes to hour or however long your battery lasts. Typically I forget about it and it goes until the battery dies. If you don't have a shutter release, you can always stand there pressing the shutter every thirty seconds. However that requires a lot of patience, which I for one don't have!
Next you download all of your images onto your computer. After that, you can download this super duper nifty program called StarTrails! It is 100% legit and better yet, totally free! I was a little wary when I first saw it, but it's great! Once you have it installed, open it up.
TIFF > JPEG. Just sayin'.
Wah-la! Your image is complete! Isn't it wonderful? To add interest you can add in some foreground elements like a tree, barn or house. I haven't had the chance to play around with it much yet, but you can get really creative with your star trail images! If you have any questions just comment below and I'll answer them ASAP!
If you try this, be sure to comment because I would love to see your results!


  1. This is a great tutorial! Thanks for sharing!!

  2. I'm really hoping to try this soon! I keep looking for an excuse to use my nifty shutter release. :) But I'll have to wait until the weather warms up a bit. Right now it's just too chilly at night.

  3. wow what a great tutorial, thank you!

  4. oh my goodness!!! this is incredible! what an awesome idea. I definitely need to try this sometime!


    PS...thanks for your comment on my blog! :)

  5. Very cool! Thank you for the tutorial!


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