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Crook Trails
By allanibanez   |   Watch
49 23 1K (1 Today)
Published: May 2, 2008
© 2008 - 2019 allanibanez
This is my first star trail of the year and the first horizontal one I've ever attempted. I decided to play it safe and head to one of my usual spots as I haven't much free time on my hands at the moment and I wanted to guarantee myself a decent subject to work with.

It took me an absolute age to find the pole star last night, and even when I had it I kept loosing it behind the tree so unfortunately its positioning isn't perfect. Eventually I gave up trying to compose it in a perfect spot and just started shooting…I would have much preferred to have it higher in shot.

I aimed to get an hour and a half worth of exposures but my lens fogged over at about 1hr10m. I however didn't realise this until half an hour later meaning I basically sat in the cold for half an hour for no reason.

As ever the skies over the Cheshire Plain are badly polluted by light calling for some quite drastic white balance adjustments. Also a cheeky cloud snuck into the shot for one exposure, but I left this in to avoid a gap in what I can only say are my smoothest trails yet!

Focal Length: 10mm
Aperture: 4.5
Exposure Time: 3 mins
Number of stacked exposures: 23
Total exposure time: 1 hour 10 minutes

Critique welcomed.

*Just re-processed this shot to remove the small patch of cloud that was in the lower left hand corner.
Image size
880x613px 422.47 KB
Shutter Speed
180/1 second
Focal Length
10 mm
ISO Speed
Date Taken
May 1, 2008, 9:34:56 PM
anonymous's avatar
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Cakey17's avatar
This is amazing !
DrewHopper's avatar
DrewHopperProfessional Photographer
Any advice you can give me for doing my first star trail soon? I love this.
allanibanez's avatar
allanibanez Photographer
if you check out alex37 on here, he has a superb guide to star trails in an old journal. thats pretty much what i use when doing trails. if you can't find it, drop me a message and i will try and hunt i down for you myself. thanks for stopping by.
DrewHopper's avatar
DrewHopperProfessional Photographer
You might have to drop me a message, can't seem to find it hey.
allanibanez's avatar
allanibanez Photographer

be sure to drop alex a message and thank him for putting that gudie together.
DrewHopper's avatar
DrewHopperProfessional Photographer
Yes of course, thanks also :)
MrParts's avatar
MrPartsProfessional Photographer
A program has been made that does all the work for you.

It's called StarTrails.exe.

It can be found here: [link]
photographicfireman's avatar
great work! what program did you use to compile all the pictures together? because when i try and do something that long I get a ton of noise.
manaphoto's avatar
manaphotoProfessional Photographer
That came out awesome...thanks for sharing the whole technique.
Suds344's avatar
did you light the tree?
allanibanez's avatar
allanibanez Photographer
I didn't, but it was quite close to a road so the few midnight lorries that drove by during my time there lit it up quite nicely. I was quite lucky as it ended up looking quite natural with a lot of highlights/shadows.
Corvidae65's avatar
I could only hope to accomplish something as beautiful and composed as this :love: I dig the composition with the tree and the trails are super-smooth :thumbsup: :+fav:
allanibanez's avatar
allanibanez Photographer
thank you :) i spent some time composing the tree, i even ended up getting my entire hand stung by nettles (i couldnt see them it was dark) in an attempt to get it spot on.
Corvidae65's avatar
:D That's dedication :nod: I think your pain was worth it :D :thumbsup:
Kalalika's avatar
KalalikaHobbyist Photographer
Much better than my first star trails of the year.
It looks like the tree is a phonograph needle on the record of time, very cool!

Something I recently learned is that attaching (by rubber band) a hand warmer (those kind skiers use) just below your lens will avoid the dreaded fogging over ;)
allanibanez's avatar
allanibanez Photographer
Yeah i've heard about those, i need to get myself some. This is the first time my lens has ever fogged up though as i have 4 layers of thick socks insulating it...that night was just very cold and very damp!
danUK86's avatar
danUK86 General Artist
nicely done :D
tobyedwards's avatar
tobyedwards Interface Designer
really good shot allan. like the composition and i think you've positioned polaris just fine.

I would try to get rid of that cloud somehow, perhaps some clever layer masking or maybe try burning the area a small amount.

As you say, the smoothest trails you've got yet, congrats.
allanibanez's avatar
allanibanez Photographer
thank you sir. i will try and get rid of the cloud at some point, i had a quick go at burning and it seems to work, i just need to be subtle with it.
tobyedwards's avatar
tobyedwards Interface Designer
yeah just turn the exposure down to just a couple of percent.
fotoguerilla's avatar
Wow. This pic is great!
MadSadCat's avatar
i know it!
that's coooool
allanibanez's avatar
allanibanez Photographer
anonymous's avatar
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