First Time with Star Trails!


One of the best things about photography is that it can be as experimental and new as you want it to be. There are always different techniques, and different pieces of equipment to buy or try as you can possibly imagine. One of my newest additions to the bag is an intervalometer.

If you're unfamiliar with what an intervalometer is; it's a tool that counts intervals of time. For example, it allows me to take a photograph once every 30 seconds for however long I want my camera to be going. If I had any other camera brand - like Nikon, I would likely have this feature built into my camera, but unfortunately Canon doesn't give me this specific tool right inside. 

The reason I bought such a specialized tool was to photograph the movement of stars and stitch the images together to create the appearance of star trails! I'm not a stranger to astrophotography, and I love using my camera to view and capture the Milky Way, but here in Nova Scotia, the core isn't visible throughout the whole year. 


The good thing is that there are different ways to create striking images of the stars even if the Milky Way isn't visible, and one way to do that is by creating star trail images!

So here's where the intervalometer comes in! We drove out of the city and found a composition that would work for the image I was looking to make. I wanted an open field or wide area without much going on so that I would be able to put myself in the photo and make an anonymous self portrait. 



Once we found what I was looking for, I set my intervalometer to one photo every 30 seconds  and went back inside the car to sip coffee and have car talks while we waited for everything to work. After about 1h and 15 minutes, we waaaay too cold in the car (-15°C that night!!) we got back out to take the image with me inside the frame.


We somehow managed to pack everything back into the car even though we couldn't feel our fingertips, and drove back home. Now it was time for Photoshop to do it's job.

Once I got them imported and onto a computer, all the 209 photos got opened as layers to create a 22GB file(!!!). Then set all but the bottom layer to blending mode "Lighten" and masked out the ground and areas of the sky that had airplanes flying through the frame. I also had to remove a bunch of images where a cloud rolled through, but by the end I was able to create..



I hope this inspires you to go out this winter, or even later in the year to try some fun techniques with astrophotography!