Star Trails

One of my favourite kinds of nightsky photography is startrails.

For anyone not familar with the concept of star trail photography it is simply setting up your camera on a fixed tripod and either taking one long exposure or a series of shorter exposures(say 30 secs) that record the movement of the stars in the night sky. The multiple exposure method then involves stacking the images to create one final image, i use this method.
Of course the stars are not actually moving but it is the rotation of the earth on its axis that is creating this effect. The North Star or 'Polaris' is almost perfectly aligned with the earths axis and so here in the northern sky all the stars appear to rotate around it.The challenge then is to find some interesting foreground to complete the image.



Here i included Polaris just to the left of the spire and painted the church with a torch in a few frames.



This trail was captured during an almost full moon, this is why the sky looks washed out and not too many stars are visible



Thought i would try one out on an old shed at the bottom of the garden but it got cut short by cloud, although i kinda liked the light pollution tainted clouds on the right hand side here.



Something different, called this one "a tree in space"








A few more recent trails above. It really is the foreground that turns an ordinary star trail into a cool image and i have a few locations in mind and hope to add to this page very soon!



A new star-trail image from Beaghmore stone circles on the 18th February, not a very long trail about 45 minutes worth of 30 second exposures with the moon doing some natural light painting on the foreground. Stacking done with free software startrail.de That's an iridium flare at left of center of image, thanks for looking.




The old ruined church at Dunlewey, Co Donegal. I have wanted to try out this wonderful location for a star trail for quite some time. Bright moonlight lit up the church superbly and brought out the great detail in the stonework, although because of the moonlit sky not so many stars were visible and to add to this some high cirrus cloud muddied the sky. A quick flash of torchlight lit up the doorway to add to the scene. That's mount Errigal in the background, the tallest peak in Donegal at 2464 ft. I want to return and try this one again in better sky conditions but for now I'm happy with the result.




I have wanted to do a star trail over the wonderful Mussenden Temple for ages. The temple is situated right on the cliff top, 120 ft above the Atlantic Ocean. It was built in 1785 as a library and is now one of the most popular tourist attractions on the north coast. I was here to shoot the aurora and decided to set up the camera for a short star trail during the aurora outburst. Some light painting with a torch was used on the temple.

More star trail projects are planned for 2014 and i will update this page when the time comes.