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Star Trails

Star Trails over Lake Tahoe, 2006

Star Trails over Lake Tahoe, 2006

One thing I’ve found to be intriguing about night-time photography is the phenomenon of “star trails.” Star trails are created by leaving the camera shutter open for long periods of time to let the light of stars paint across the film. The effect is no different than any other long exposure side effect, with the exception that the movement represented is the rotation of the Earth rather than of the camera. Depending on the composition, this can produce some interesting results. Star trails can be seen in exposures as low as 30 seconds. However the more dramatic trails require exposures of an hour or even longer.

An hour of the night, Lake Tahoe, CA 2006

An hour of the night, Lake Tahoe, CA 2006

Star Trails and Clouds, Mt. Pinos, CA 2007

Star Trails and Clouds, Mt. Pinos, CA 2007

Astronomers and Star Trails, Mt. Pinos, CA, September 2008

Astronomers and Star Trails, Mt. Pinos, CA, September 2008

Star Trails over Providenciales with half Moon, Turks and Caicos Islands November 2006

Star Trails over Providenciales with half Moon, Turks and Caicos Islands November 2006

Star Trails over the Caribbean, Turks and Caicos Islands November 2006

Star Trails over the Caribbean, Turks and Caicos Islands November 2006

This short sequence of frames shows the progression of star trails in exposures of 5 to 30 minutes.

September 27, 2009 - 1:16 pm

Emily - These are so beautiful, Kurt! I just love the star pictures. You have so much talent.

October 18, 2010 - 1:59 pm

Danny Hussey - Great blog and great images!
http://bit.ly/bv3s3P

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