I'm planning to shoot star trails with My Nikon D90. I'm going to use a Nikkor 18-105 VR lens. I'd like to know the ideal settings for shooting star trails, including what type of white balance and metering to use.

  • 1
    As long as possible :). Although the other setting I don't know Dec 12, 2012 at 7:02
  • I don't want to go For Long Exposure for shooting Trails. So looking for alternative settings
    – pinaldesai
    Dec 12, 2012 at 8:08
  • @pinaldesai Surely you need the long exposure to give the star a chance to move in the frame?
    – Edd
    Dec 12, 2012 at 8:42
  • Yes Edd, but not more then 30 Seconds. So looking for settings that will do justice to my frame within 30 Sec of stutter speed.
    – pinaldesai
    Dec 12, 2012 at 8:48
  • 1
    @pinaldesai how on Earth (no pun intended) are you going to get a reasonable trail from a 30 second exposure. Have you thought of using "bulb" mode on your cam with a remote?
    – Rob
    Dec 12, 2012 at 18:34

2 Answers 2


I've not done star trails but I've done a few moon shots.

Specific things for the D90 are that you need a very solid tripod as the D90 has no mirror lockup for shooting to prevent movement/vibration. Turn off the Long Exposure NR, VR on the lens autofocus and auto-iso. If you have a remote release like the ML3 then use that otherwise use the self timer.

If it's cold / frosty and you plan to be a while then try & insulate the back of the camera to keep the battery warm, ni-mh batteries don't appreciate the cold very much.

And have fun!

  • Mirror lockup isn't important for long exposures, as the mirror flapping vibration dies away within a few seconds, and the exposure will likely be for multiple minutes. Mirror lockup is only really important in the ~1/4 - ~5 second range.
    – Fake Name
    May 9, 2013 at 9:05
  • It does die away, but from what I've gleaned from talks presented by Nik Szymanek (a widely published and respected amateur astronomer) it seems to be better to eliminate it where possible. May 9, 2013 at 21:26

Star Trail Photograph is one of the most challenging activity, I've learned it from here: http://www.jamesvernacotola.com/Resources/How-To-Photograph-Star-Trails/12233655_V7cX4D http://www.nikonusa.com/en/Learn-And-Explore/Article/h0ndzhvw/photographing-the-night-sky-star-trails.html

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