Rodney Campbell's Blog

The Summoning…

by on Mar.04, 2016, under Life, Photography

Light Painting experiments with Gerry and my eldest daughter at Sculpture By The Sea late last year. We’d assumed that star trails were off the table with the weather gods summoning quite a bit of cloud about. Whispy clouds like we had are actually very good for long exposure light painting especially when there’s light pollution (from a large city like Sydney) about. It adds a nice lit streaky effect to what would otherwise be a pretty flat dark boring sky otherwise.

We’ve now moved to shoot from the traditional side of the sculpture in the primo spot at the point of Marks Park. We’re now on the outside looking in to the east out to sea. The advantage of shooting in this direction is you are facing out to sea where there’s far less light pollution (in the sky predominantly).

The Summoning

The Summoning

NIKON D750 + 14.0 mm f/2.8 @ 14 mm, 41 sec at f/2.8, ISO 640 x 39 Frames

Note: These photographs (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.

As luck would have it, it looked like we were also getting a bit of a break in the clouds so we figured we might give a short set of star trails frames a go. It was already 11:30PM and we weren’t keen to stick around much longer so we wacked out a few light painted foregrounds which we could potentially use to blend with the stacked trails later on if they worked.

I even dragged out my orb making tool – much to Gerry’s disgust (he stopped his frame before I spun my orb :)).

At 11:50PM we started our star trails sequence (41 sec at f/2.8 and ISO 640). Normally I’d like to use a much higher ISO (around 1000+) (to “see” more stars) and a longer shutter (60 sec) (to get longer trails per frame and have less overall frames to deal with). However we live in a big city and even looking out to sea we have to deal with a level of light pollution which makes star trails in or even near any populated area difficult. I guess we’re lucky to have been able to shoot for 40 seconds at ISO 640. I’ve attempted other trails where even 25 seconds at ISO 200 was overexposed.

So back to these trails – by the time we’d waited till a quarter past midnight we’d had enough. I only had 39 frames (about 25 minutes worth) so I wasn’t expecting much from this session.

The frames stacked pretty well though and even with a touch of cloud coverage still moving through the frames I was reasonably happy with the result. Plus we very nicely got the centre of the rotation of the stars right up in the top right corner – good planning you’d think but also with a touch of luck :).

Thanks also go to my friend Melinda for inspired assistance in titling The Summoning (and Techno-Tetris from the previous post).

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