08-October-2011

Early Early Morning Autumn Star Trails.

With the continuing clear skies, I set up two cameras to record star trails early this morning. I started at 3:00 AM after the moon set. I was still worried about condensation on the lens. I pointed a Nikon D3 with a 16 mm f/2.8 fish-eye lens north, and a Nikon D3x with a 14-24 mm f/2.8 lens at 14 mm pointed south.  I used some gaffer tape to prevent the focal length lens crepe on the 14-24 mm lens that ruined a previous star trails session. The Nikon D3 stopped recording after 2 hours. After the fact, I realized that I used a EN-EL4 rather than the higher capacity EN-EL4A battery. The D3x with a EN-EL4A battery ran until I went out to get the cameras at sunrise. Unfortunately, condensation on the lens started distorting images after about 5 AM. Both the North and South facing Star Trails ended up about 60 images (2 hours). The really bright trail in both the Norht and South image is Jupiter.

North View Star Trails. Autumn Early Morning in New Jersey. Image taken with a Nikon D3 and 16 mm f/2.8 mm Fisheye lens (ISO 200, 16 mm, f/4, 1 min 59 sec). Composite of 56 images combined using the Startrails program. (David J Mathre)
North View Star Trails. Autumn Early Morning in New Jersey. Image taken with a Nikon D3 and 16 mm f/2.8 mm Fisheye lens (ISO 200, 16 mm, f/4, 1 min 59 sec). Composite of 56 images combined using the Startrails program. (David J Mathre)

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South View Star Trails. Autumn Early Morning in New Jersey. Image taken with a Nikon D3x and 14-24 mm f/2.8 mm lens (ISO 100, 14 mm, f/4, 1 min 59 sec). Composite of 60 images combined using the Startrails program. (David J Mathre)
South View Star Trails. Autumn Early Morning in New Jersey. Image taken with a Nikon D3x and 14-24 mm f/2.8 mm lens (ISO 100, 14 mm, f/4, 1 min 59 sec). Composite of 60 images combined using the Startrails program. (David J Mathre)

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Three-Years Ago (25-February-2008) — Colorado

Elderhostel “Photography in the Southwest” Workshop Day 1. Star Trails.

The following image is a composite of five 30 minute night sky exposures taken during a Elderhostel/Road Scholar photography workshop at Kelly Place outside of Cortez, Colorado in 2008. It was really dark other than the Christmas lights at the main building, and you could see a lot of stars in the sky. I moved the tripod as far away from the lights as possible and decided to do this series with a fisheye lens that would give a 180° field of view. The five images were combined using Startrails. This program is old (only works with jpg or 8-bit tif files) but works better than when I try to merge the images as layers in Photoshop.

Winter night sky looking north at Kelley's Place near Cortez, Colorado. Composite of four images taken with a Nikon D3 camera and 16 mm f/2.8 fisheye lens (ISO 200, 16 mm, f/2.8, 30 min). (David J Mathre)
Winter night sky looking north at Kelley’s Place near Cortez, Colorado. Composite of four images taken with a Nikon D3 camera and 16 mm f/2.8 fisheye lens (ISO 200, 16 mm, f/2.8, 30 min). (David J Mathre)



Individual images in this slide show can be viewed here.

Friday (12-November-2010) — New Jersey

Backyard Autumn Night Sky over New Jersey

  1. Star trail composite of ~180 images (3 hours) taken last night looking south from my home in New Jersey. Each image was acquired with a Nikon D3x and 60 mm f/2.8 macro lens (ISO 100, f/8, 59 sec). Images converted to jpg with Capture NX2, then combined using the startrails.exe program.
  2.  Star trail composite of ~300 images 5 hours) taken last night looking south from my home in New Jersey. Each image was acquired with a Nikon D3x and 60 mm f/2.8 macro lens (ISO 100, f/8, 59 sec). Images converted to jpg with Capture NX2, then combined using the Startrails program. Since this was later, fewer jet trails.
  3. Waxing Crescent Moon image acquired with a Nikon D3s and Questar 7″ telescope (ISO 200, ~ 1600 mm, f/16, 1/50 sec).
Star Trails and Jet Traffic over New Jersey (David J Mathre)
Star Trails and Jet Traffic over New Jersey (David J Mathre)
Star Trails over New Jersey (David J Mathre)
Star Trails over New Jersey (David J Mathre)
Waxing Crescent Moon. Image taken with Nikon D3s and 400 mm f/2.8 lens with TC-E 2.0 teleconverter (ISO 200, 800 mm f/8, 1/100 sec) (David J Mathre)
Waxing Crescent Moon. Image taken with Nikon D3s and 400 mm f/2.8 lens with TC-E 2.0 teleconverter (ISO 200, 800 mm f/8, 1/100 sec) (David J Mathre)

Friday (11-December-2009) — New Jersey

Late Autumn Night Sky Over New Jersey: Star Trails and Time-lapsed Video

Images of star and jet trails plus a time-lapsed video looking south from my house in New Jersey. This was a couple of days before the Geminid meteor shower was supposed to peak, but I did catch a few meteors during the night.  A series of images were taken with a Nikon D3x and 24 mm f/3.5 PC-E lens (ISO 400, f/4, 30 sec). The star trail images are composites of 120 images combined with the Startrails program. A time-lapsed video of the entire set was also created using Adobe Photoshop CS5 export to video. When you see Orion, tell me what I did wrong…

Late Fall Night Sky Image of Star and Jet Trails. Image taken with a Nikon D3x and 24 mm f/3.5 PC-E lens (ISO 400, f/4.0, 30 sec). Composite of 120 images over 1 hour combined with Startrails program. Hour 2. (David J Mathre)
Late Fall Night Sky Image of Star and Jet Trails. Image taken with a Nikon D3x and 24 mm f/3.5 PC-E lens (ISO 400, f/4.0, 30 sec). Composite of 120 images over 1 hour combined with Startrails program. Hour 2. (David J Mathre)