THE BIG PROJECT Reach for the stars

Ja­son Par­nell-Brookes tries his hand at pho­tograph­ing star trails

NPhoto - - The Big Project! -

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...

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