Nine-Years Ago (04-November-2006) — New Jersey

Backyard Autumn Night Sky Over New Jersey: Star and Jet Trails

Learning from mistakes. It took a while to figure out how to make star trail images with a digital camera. My first attempts to do long exposures ran into problems with digital sensor noise, the length of time the shutter could remain open, and camera battery life — especially on cold nights. The camera had an option for “long exposure noise reduction”, however this required taking a second exposure with the shutter closed and then subtracting the sensor closed image from the sensor open image. The result is missing every other exposure needed for a smooth composite star trail image.

Star trails looking southeast from my backyard. Composite of 27 images taken with a Nikon D2xs camera and 17-35 mm f/2.8 lens (ISO 100, 17 mm, f/2.8, 28 sec). (David J Mathre)
Star trails looking southeast from my backyard. Composite of 27 images taken with a Nikon D2xs camera and 17-35 mm f/2.8 lens (ISO 100, 17 mm, f/2.8, 28 sec). (David J Mathre)

Other than the Big Dipper, Orion was probably the second constellation I learned to recognize.


Author: David Mathre

I am a scientist by training (Eckerd College, BSc; Caltech, Ph.D.). I worked for 27 years as a Chemist in the Pharmaceutical Industry developing processes to manufacture medicines for human and animal health. I now spend my time as a photographer and world traveler. My interests in photography include the natural world, wildlife, landscapes, skyscapes, and seascapes. I have traveled to over 50 countries over the last 10 years, often on Semester at Sea voyages. While at home in New Jersey, I spend time on a home renovation project and expanding my wildflower garden/meadow.

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