I have been here on DA for a year now and I think it's time to give a little something back to all of my wonderful watchers. So I am holding a competition where the winner(s) will recieve a 3 month Premium Membership to DA. Sound good? What do I have to do I hear you ask.
As I'm sure you all know, I love astrophotography and all astrophotographers probably start just like I did, by doing fixed tripod astrophotography. No expensive mounts or telescopes. Just stick a camera on a tripod at night and hold the shutter open for a long time or take a snap shot of the moon. I think one of the best things you can do with a fixed tripod is produce a star trail image. So that is my challenge. Show me your star trails.
It must be your own work and a new image taken during October or November with the date either in the exif data or in the description along with details of how you did the shot.
Submissions close at the end of November. That's right you have two months to get a star trail shot. I know as well as anybody how fickle the weather can be so i'm giving you plenty of time.
Open to all my watchers. If you already have a Premium Membership and you win I'll simply top it up a bit.
Want to submit more than one image? Sure. Go ahead. Unlimited submissions.
Entries will be judged on the 1st of December with the winner(s) notified and announced/featured shortly after.
In the judgeing process I may be asking for additional information on how you did the shot if it is not in the description so again- It MUST be your own work.
How to enter
Take your star trail shot(s)
Upload to DA making sure that you have included the date.
Include a description of how you did the shot (camera, camera settings, exposure(s), processing, etc) to help others who may want to try doing one of their own one day.
Either send me a note or comment on this journal with a link to the picture.
I will then collect them all in my favourites.
A few of my trails to inspire you.
Tips and Tricks
Get a tripod.
A remote shutter release for your camera helps a lot but isn't necessary if you are quick with your hands after each exposure or very steady with your hands during the long exposure.
You can either take one loooooooong exposure or stack multiple shorter exposures.
You don't necessarily need a DSLR camera (but it helps). If you have a point and shoot camera in which you can adjust ISO, Aperture and Shutter Speed you should be fine. If you have a camera that is unable to take a picture of the stars then I am sorry. I can't please everyone with this competition. Stay tuned for a different comp in the future.
Ideally you need to do at least 30 minutes to produce a pleasing star trail (IMO) but the longer you can go, the better.
Stars are one thing but don't forget the foreground. It can make or break a shot. Experiment with lighting up the foreground to really make your image pop.
If you don't want gaps in your trails, make sure you are shooting continuously and turn off in camera noise reduction
If you want circles, shoot towards either the north or south pole. If you want straight lines shoot either east or west
This is a great tutorial on shooting star trails [link]
Search around for other tutorials. The above one certainly isn't the only way to do it.
Great free downloadable program which can stack all your images for you if you are taking multiple exposures [link]
(It can even spit out a movie sequence for you)
Search around DA for star trail images to get inspiration or tips from the artist descriptions
Don't be afraid to ask for help. I am more than happy to give further advice if you want to try a star trail but you are still unsure what to do after reading some tutorials. Send me a note.
I think that about covers it. You have got to be in it to win it.
Once again I'll end this journal with a few features of some great art I have come across recently. I'll make this one a non lightning and non astro feature.