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Photography Question 
Janet Bradley

night time photography

I am trying to use my D90 for star trails. I have a very dark location, it's a new moon and skies are clear. I used f5.6 and had the shutter open for 3 hours. ISO was set low. My pic came out fuzzy and the sky is orange. Could anyone help me with what setting is wrong? thanks! jan

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8/8/2010 8:46:01 AM

Anfal Aljery
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/18/2010
  The same thing happed to me while I was trying to shoot the stars

And I think maybe your location or the place you are trying to take picture from is polluted with light or its not too much dark
I solved my problem this way!
I changed my location where it is no light near me

So it maybe work for you this way ^^

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8/19/2010 8:20:25 AM

Russell C. Amidon
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/19/2004
  Hi Janet,
I can't help you with any technical photographic techniques but if your using PS CS5, there is a a new Star Trails Action plug in that does this for you. Check out this website and scroll down to CS5 tips & techniques. There is a downloadable video of how to use the plug in. Hope it helps.

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8/19/2010 10:21:48 AM

Lynn R. Powers   Here is a simple check list.

Very dark Skies
Sturdy tripod and head
Wide angle lens. at least 18mm (27mm with crop factor)
f stop = wide open
Lens hood on the lens
ISO 800 or faster depending on camera.
Camera set for manual
Manually focus the camera
Mirror lock up
Set shutter speed to 'B', bulb
You may want to use the timer delay
Remote release-either cable or wireless
Expose for one hour.

If you have stacking capability in your processing use 6 for 10 minutes each or more exposures to equal an hour either by using an intervolt release or doing it manually. This will help darken the skies.

A one hour exposure will give you 15 degrees of arc on the star trails. This is enough for the outer stars to start merging with others to give the feeling of a circle. The North Star, Polaris will show a small arc.


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8/20/2010 12:12:19 PM

Randy A. Myers
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/20/2002
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  Lynn has good advice. Don't worry if you don't have mirror lock up. The long exposure makes any vibration you would get from mirror slap negligible. Mirror lock up helps most at around 1/8 sec. to 1/15 sec. shutter speeds. Good luck and have fun.

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8/20/2010 2:16:42 PM

Janet Bradley   Thank you everyone for your advice! I have a very dark location (Berkshires dark) and I will carefully follow the check list..much appreciated. A local photo shop is telling me that Fuji 400 is a good choice of film (I'm back to also using my trusty 35 mm nikon..both cameras on tripods) anyone wish to add advice on the film? I will post any worthy results! thanks again- jan (ps I was camping out in a pup tent with my camera set up in a friend's pasture..and an earth-shaking event awakened me.. something coming toward the tent making a "HAAAAK" sound. At first, I thought it was a hawk or owl but for the ground shaking..I had a spray bottle of windex clutched to my chest for defense..(goofy, I know, but it was all I could think of at the time..) I began spraying like mad...........and as a last resort, made the "HAAAAK" sound back..the thundering hooves stopped; and began a retreat along with the vocal aspect of it all. (I bet it was the windex!) I finished up and left around 3 am. I am told it was likely a buck deer...which is not frightening at all to think of now..and thank goodness he didn't knock the cameras ;)

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8/20/2010 6:28:29 PM

Lynn R. Powers   Same suggestion with film. Only have the film push processed to ISO 800. Some places used to charge a little for push processing because they have to do it by hand and not automatically done by machine. If it is color negative film I doubt that it will turn out too well because of reciprocity failure. You could use Max 800 but I never cared for the results, but then again that was when it first came out. They made a few changes including a special developer which later.

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8/20/2010 7:12:57 PM

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