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How can I get this effect where the stars are seen as lines? Do you need a especial camera?

enter image description here

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possible duplicate of Tips for landscape+stars photography? –  dpollitt Aug 22 '13 at 13:17

1 Answer 1

up vote 5 down vote accepted

This technique is called "Startrails" and you don't need to have a special camera. All you need is:
- tripod
- time-lapse control to shoot lot's of photos
- fast lens (large aperture)
- compass
- startrails software (it's called Startrails.exe and you can find here)

Your camera will shoot for a long time (it depends how is the effect do you wanna get, in your example were about 2 hours). The Compass is necessary to find the earth's axis, it's more beautiful. After you shooting, you have to match them and that's why you need the startrails software. It's very intuitive, drop the pic and click 'start'.

For more information, check this: http://www.lightstalking.com/how-to-photograph-star-trails


There are two ways that you have to do a startrails: a single photo (with a very long exposure) or shorter photos. In my opinion lots of photos are better instead of just one because the a long exposure you can get more errors than the first method. If something goes wrong (unplanned lights) you lose everything, so it's safer to do several photos.

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A discussion of the tradeoffs between stacked exposures or a single long exposure would be very valuable (the linked article has minimal practical information on this topic). –  Szabolcs Aug 22 '13 at 18:32
Totally agree with you @Szabolcs, this information is very important. I've updated my answer, thank you. –  edilsonfb Aug 22 '13 at 18:55
The example that was given was no more than 30-45 minutes since the angle spanned by the star is no more than 10 degrees. A compass is not required as long as you can find the Big Dipper in the sky and then, from that, figure out were Polaris is using the following: simbelmyne.us/sca/haversack/… –  Francesco Gallarotti Aug 23 '13 at 11:59
Agreed with the exposure time and about the compass, @FrancescoGallarotti, but it's hard to find the Polaris if you don't have experience (I've already tried this method and it was ok), and to be more precise you better get one. (I'd used the Google Sky map app for android and worked more or less) –  edilsonfb Aug 23 '13 at 12:32
You'll also want to avoid the moon. You don't have to wait for a new moon like the article says, you can wait until the moon sets (as long as it's gone at night). You should also turn off dark frame subtraction if that's enabled on your camera, or you'll dashed star trails. –  walter Aug 25 '13 at 7:32

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