Kirribilli (Sydney Harbour) Trails…

Decided to give Sydney Harbour another try for inner city bound star trails…

Gerry joined me in Bradfield Park just under the northern end of the Harbour bridge for a view which would include the SOH on the left, Sydney CBD in the middle and the SHB on the right with (if our planning turns out vaguely correct) the centre of the rotation of the stars just to the left of the CBD.

The conditions were about as ideal as we were going to get in the city – very nice clear skies (no clouds and little smog, etc), no moon and hopefully some stars. The light pollution was once again a big factor but that was a given, it turned out flare (from the man made lighting which turns on after dark) would also be a big problem but alas not something that could be rectified more than an hour into a multi hour shoot – it’s not like you can reframe and get the sun to set again 🙂

I started with a new technique this time – put the camera on continuous high set on manual mode at 30 seconds f/4 and ISO 640 and then use the remote trigger with the shutter button held down – the aim was for it to continuously take 30 second frames with no delay between – this worked for the first 100 shots and then just stopped taking any more (some mysterious internal limit I guess). Same thing happened to Gerry (but he has the same camera) – annoyingly this meant that the almost first hours worth of images would likely be discarded. We started our star trails frames again, this time using the intervalometer set to take infinite 30 second frames with 1 second gaps and this time I got 360 usable frames (3 hours of exposures) to stack.

This time I also used the Stacking Action from Star Circle Academy which worked well.

The results of blending the resulting stack with both a long exposure (88 second) twilight shot and a three exposure sunset HDR for the bridge and pilon plus some heavy post processing of the washed and blown out stacked trails turned out reasonably good for a first round editing effort (I’d like to revisit this again when I’ve learnt better layer adjustment and blending/compositing techniques)…

Note: These images (especially the wider shots) look much better when larger – so click any of the images below to see larger versions in an inline overlay slideshow gallery viewer.

NIKON D7000 + 12.0-24.0 mm f/4.0 @ 12 mm, 88 sec at f/11, ISO 100 + 360 frames x 30 sec at f/4, ISO 640

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  1. Hi Rodney
    I would like to use this image for a internal corporate message. Can I buy image rights from you?
    Cheers