Star trail 15 years in the making

15 years ago I was spellbind by the cover of my year 7 science book.  I didn’t care too much for the words inside, but the cover was amazing. It was a star trail above an observatory dome. It was the first star trail photo I had ever seen and I remember asking the teacher how it was taken. Ever since that day I have dreamt of taking such a shot.

Well I have been doing some research into this style of photography for the last year or so and I finally got myself organised to give it a go here in Brisbane before I head back to the Mid North Coast of NSW next weekend where there will be a nice black night thanks to the new moon. The perfect conditions for star trails.

The photo was taken at the Oxley Creek Common, a combination of Grasslands, Creek vine forest, hoop pine forest and freshwater wetlands and only 11km from Brisbane’s CBD. Its a great resource and when it comes to dark nights this is the best spot I have come across yet.

Camera was setup on my tripod only 2 feet above the ground and in portrait so that I could include as many of the brighter stars as possible. Brisbane’s light pollution doesn’t make for a great amount of stars just above the horizon. Camera was set to manual, f10, ISO500 and 30sec exposure. Using my remote shutter button I locked it in to take another 30sec photo right after the last one finished exposing.  After an hour I had 111 photos. Using a program called Startrails v1.1 I merged all the exposures together.

I cant wait till next weekend so I can try a star trail on the great beaches near Woolgoolga. Way better moon phase and the lack of light pollution will be great.

I’d like to thank Dan from liquidinplastic for his great star trail tutorial. Without his clear instructions I doubt I could have gotten such a good shot on my first attempt.