Yattalunga Star Trails

It had been over 2 months since I was last out under the night sky with my camera! June was incredibly wet, and it’s also been cold! So when it has been clear, I’ve just wanted to stay in the warm bed 🙂

But I forced myself to get out there this morning, knowing it was going to be clear (and cold!), but I still had to go to work after. So I didn’t travel far – just to Yattalunga, near Davistown. Only about a 20 minute drive from home – still in the middle of ‘suburbia’ on the Central Coast, but on the edge of the Brisbane Water, with a nice wharf, so it gave me a great foreground scene to get back into the groove shooting some nightscapes.

I had two cameras going – my 6D doing individual nightscape shots, and my 5D Mark 2 shooting the sequence for this star trails shot. It’s facing West, with the Milky Way setting in the west.

Yattalunga Star Trails

Yattalunga Star Trails

Damn it was cold! I couldn’t find my gloves while packing last night, so my fingers froze!

I wanted to preserve star colour and not over-expose all the stars, so I did a 20 second test shot at ISO3200 f/2.8 to see how much light came in and how bright the stars were. I then used an app called “Bulk Exposure Calculator” to work out what would give the equivalent exposure if I used a lower ISO and higher f/stop.

It worked out that if I did a 2-minute exposure at ISO1000 and f/4.0, it would give me the same equivalent exposure – so that’s what I used.

I shot 20x 2 minute exposures, so 40 minutes in total. Captured with the Canon 5D Mk2, Samyang 14mm lens @ f/4, ISO1000, 2 minute exposures.

The images were then imported into Lightroom where I applied the lens profile and some slight noise reduction, and exported as TIFs. Those TIFs were then imported into StarStax, and I used the ‘Gap Filling’ algorithm to stack the shots together and create the trails. I saved as TIF, imported into Photoshop were I did final noise reduction, contrast and saturation boost and colour balance adjustments.

And above is the result! I’m pretty happy with how it turned out for a quick hour under the stars before work! Especially given the skies weren’t particularly dark. Technically I’m happy with the shot too, with well preserved star colours, and virtually no noise!

Thanks for looking.

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