BetterPhoto Q&A
Category: New Questions

Photography Question 
april schappell

painting with light-star shots

I am currently in a beginning photo class and I have one last assignment. It is to take pics of stars, one exposure is supposed to be 60 mins and one 30 mins amongst others. I have been using my min/konica maxxum 70, but for this assignment thought i'd use the old pentax k1000. any tips on how to accomplish this would be greatly appreciated! thanking you in advance, A.

To love this question, log in above
11/29/2005 9:28:39 AM

Andrew Laverghetta
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/13/2004
  Hey there. You'll have to have a cable release to go with your camera. One that can lock too. You can probably get decent results using ISO 100 film at the widest aperture or maybe even closed down to around f8 or f11. Um, as always, it would be a great thing to bracket with the fstops...but that's one heck of a long time for a full bracket lol! Of course, you will have to hold a tripod. Try not to move around too much, find a very dark place too in the country if possible with as little light pollution as possible. Even if there's a light out of the frame, with such a long exposure time, it could bleed into the frame. Hope this helps. If anybody else has a better idea towards what aperture, large or slightly smaller, is better, let us know. The lens will of course be sharper at f8 or f11. Wide lenses would be interesting because they would show some more scenery if you positioned it correctly. Or if you had an exeptionally wide angle lens, you couldl get some interesting effects. You could also get some different shots if you had a longer focal length lens.

Hope this helps!

To love this comment, log in above
12/2/2005 11:08:17 AM

april schappell   Thanks for your help Andrew, I will give it a shot! No pun intended. lol! April

To love this comment, log in above
12/2/2005 1:43:07 PM

David A. Bliss   April, this is a link to a star trail shot I have in my portfolio. The shooting specs are described below the picture. Hopefully this can help give you an idea.

To love this comment, log in above
12/2/2005 4:26:12 PM

Pete H
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/9/2005
  Point your camera at the pole star as this will show some nice concentric circles.


To love this comment, log in above
12/3/2005 4:01:49 AM

Robyn Gwilt
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/15/2005
  Hi April, I did a class earlier this year & we did painting with light - but not such long exposures. I agree though with what Andrew says - you definitely need a shutter reliease cable (that locks) and a tripod! I did some painting with light, using torches, kids sparklers etc - but max exp was about 15 - 20 sec's, most were about 10 -12. Have a look at the following and it'll give u an idea of what you can do with a sparkler! - its great fun!

To love this comment, log in above
12/3/2005 10:18:20 AM

Andrew Laverghetta
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/13/2004
  Oh, you can also search here on in the top left "Search Site" and type in "Star Trails." You should find Q&A topics and some different photos and photo discussions. Check out the photos and their discussions and you might be able to get some settings that others used so you have an idea of how bright the stars will be and how long the trails might be with different exposure times.

To love this comment, log in above
12/3/2005 2:02:25 PM

Log in to respond or ask your own question.