Yosemite Startrail (Learning Experience)

Yosemite Startrail (Learning Experience)

Willie, Will, and I drove over to Yosemite this past weekend to capture some of the autumn color. We knew that it might be a bit early for the red/yellows of autumn but we are all busy next weekend so we figured wed give it a shot. It turned out that there wasnt much color at all or where there was color, it was in the wrong spot and not very photographic

Willie and Will both picked up Canon 5D Mark IIs and decided it would be a good chance (with the moon rising after midnight) to get some startrails. We headed over to Cooks Meadow (below Yosemite Falls) and found a bit dead ol tree to use as the foreground for our startrails. OK, its not all that interesting, but it was our first time trying startrails.

As I just mentioned, none of us had done startrails before and this was a learning experience. We set all our cameras to ISO 1,000, 1 minute exposures, at f/2.8. We each rotated doing a 5 minute exposure first to figure out where the center point was. After recomposing 4 or 5 times we decided to give up trying to get the center point at the top of the tree (when we did, the tree was really ugly). For 1 hour, 15 minutes our cameras snapped away. At some point our lenses got all fogged up, cleared, then fogged up again. Luckily it didnt really effect the star-trail.

I think theres way too many stars in this — but it makes for a neat shot. Next time Ill definitely bump the ISO much lower so that a gazillion bagillion stars dont get picked up

Nikon D300s w/Nikkor 17-35mm f/2.8 ED-IF AF-S:
75 exposures at 17mm, f/2.8, 60 sec, ISO 1000, Tripod
Stacked in Photoshop

Aaron M Written by:

Aaron Meyers is a landscape and wedding photographer living in Silicon Valley, CA. His love of the outdoors makes for frequent forays into the Californian wilds, where he delights in the stunning vistas of Yosemite National Park, Lake Tahoe, Big Sur, and the Pacific Coast.