Rodney Campbell's Blog

Harbour Trails

by on May.31, 2023, under Photography

Harbour Trails

Harbour Trails

NIKON Z 7 + NIKKOR Z 20mm f/1.8 S @ 20 mm, 10 sec at f/2, ISO 320 x 303 Frames

The early Vivid preview nights I photographed were around the time of the new moon

So late one night after photographing some of the preview sites on my way home I stopped in at Blues Point to try something I’d been thinking of in my head. Star trails over the colourfully lit up SHB, SOH and Pylons

Lo and behold the final result was better than I’d hoped really …

To shot astro, stars, star trails you need to a few things:

Besides the gear (a fast (wide aperture) lens, a good intervalometer, a camera that can shoot in manual mode)

You also need the right environmental conditions:

  • Clear skies – absolutely no clouds for the duration – as it happened we had some very clear nights – tick
  • No (or very minimal) moon in the sky – it was near the new moon – tick
  • No (or minimal aircraft) for the duration – it was late and after curfew – tick
  • Dark skies, no light pollution and no ambient lights – OK we’re in the heart of the largest metropolitan city in Australia and I’m pointing right at some insane light sources – so alas not so much 🙁

I wasn’t exactly sure this would work so I took some frames to use at the very bottom of the final image and then started the hours worth of star trail captures which actually ran till the battery ran out

Normally if it was dark skies I’d be shooting individual frames at 45 to 120 seconds at an ISO somewhere around 800 to 1600 depending on how dark the sky was

Here the ambient skies were so bright I shot 10 seconds at ISO 320 – something like 3 to 5 stops below my ideal. So I wasn’t all that hopeful I’d have a lot of trails in the final image. Planning and settings however appear to have paid off

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