Star Trails Over the Badlands

In yesterday’s post, I featured a few of my favorite images of star points (stars in sharp focus) and some of the Perseid meteors. In today’s post, I’m featuring a couple of star trails I captured over time, one evening while photographing the Perseid meteors. Capturing multiple, long exposure images, I later combined them using StarStaX software. Here are two images I captured:

In this first image, the star trails (which rotates around Polaris, the North Star … Polaris is just out of the frame in this shot, on the upper left corner of the image):

Star Trails captured over Badlands NP

If you look closely (photo above) you can see about 3 meteors traveling across the sky. In the lower right of the frame, a couple of airplanes saw the need to fly across my photograph!

In this next image, I had positioned my second tripod setup a bit to the left so I could capture Polaris near the center of the frame:

Star Trails captured over Badlands NP

After seeing both the star points images and the star trails images, which do you like best?  I think I prefer the sharply-in-focus star points, but both can result in wonderful, night photographs. Also, do you see the different colors in the stars? The color difference is due to the age of the star … younger stars burn “hot” and have a bluish color. Older, dying stars are warmer in color.

Photographic Equipment Used:

Top Image:

  • Canon 5D Mark 3 body
  • Rokinon 14mm manual lens, f/2.8 lens
  • Bogen 3221 tripod with ballhead
  • ISO 3200 and ISO 5000
  • Aperture f/2.8
  • Shutter 30 seconds
  • A total of 76 individual images were combined in the top image, using StarStaX software


Bottom Image:

  • Canon 1D Mark 3 body
  • Tamron 17-35mm, f/2.8 lens
  • Bogen 3221 tripod with ballhead
  • ISO 500
  • Shutter 297 seconds (just under 5 minutes/exposure)
  • A total of 7 individual images were combined in the bottom image, using StarStaX software



Posted in Astrophotography, Landscape Photography, Nature Photography, Travel Photography
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