THE BIG PROJECT Reach for the stars
Jason Parnell-Brookes tries his hand at photographing star trails
Star trail photos, with moving stars forming streaks of light across the night sky, are always popular. In this tutorial, we’re going to walk you through how to shoot source images for a star trail photo, and then how to merge them in Lightroom. If you’re in the northern hemisphere, you’ll need to aim for Polaris, the north star, to achieve the classic ‘circular’ star trail look. If you’re in the southern hemisphere, you’ll need to find the south celestial pole (page 62).
A big part of photographing the night sky successfully is having low light pollution and clear, cloudless skies, so first we had to do a bit of research to find a really dark sky, and a clear night on which to photograph. The Brecon Beacons, in South Wales, became only the fifth International Dark Sky Reserve in the world back in 2012, and prides itself on having extremely dark skies. This made it the perfect location for us to photograph our star trails.
The weather in Wales is notoriously changeable, so we kept a close eye on the forecast and made sure we were all packed up and ready to go as soon as an opportunity presented itself.
Finally our patience was rewarded by a small window of clear weather, so we made a beeline for South Wales before the weather closed in again. We scouted a few locations first in daylight, so we could get all set up before it got dark, and then we were ready to start shooting...