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Star trails over Lemeleberg

Star trails over Lemeleberg
Photo Information
Copyright: Niek Bouwen (SunToucher) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2385 W: 237 N: 3033] (11162)
Genre: Landscapes
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2009-05-30
Camera: Canon EOS 40D, Sigma 10-20mm F4-5.6 DC EX HSM
Exposure: f/4.5, 30 seconds
Details: Tripod: Yes
Photo Version: Original Version
Theme(s): Your favorites, Sallandse Heuvelrug [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2009-12-25 2:56
Viewed: 3772
Favorites: 1 [view]
Points: 30
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
I had totally forgotten that I made this photo. Weeks before I made this photo I read in a magazine about making star trails with a digital camera using the software from www.startrails.de. Then soon after Horia posted this wonderful star trail photo and I knew I had to do the same. Living in a crowded country with lots of light pollution makes it difficult to find a good location. Next to the fact that we get a lot of cloudy skies the task was even more difficult. But after some searching on detailed maps and some driving I found this location where I could stand next to my car while waiting for the time to pass by.

On the technical site of things. In the analogue days, one needed to make one extreme long exposure to get this kind of result. In the modern digital era, one can make multiple 30 seconds exposures and merge them all to one final result. The star trails software helps to create the final result without the hassle of multiple layers in Photoshop. The only requirement is that you make one fully black image to suppress the noise.

For this one, I made 57 exposures of 30 seconds by manually setting the shutter to 30 seconds and by using a remote to lock the shutter. The final photo was made with the lens cap attached.

This was a first trail and I noticed that even with the black exposure there is still a fair amount of noise. I guess this has to do with the high ISO of 500. I now know how to overcome this and I hope that I will be able to make a new one soon.

Although I am not a huge Christmas fan. Happy Christmas to all!

Niek Bouwen Photography

flashpoint, horias, marianas, meyerd, horia, nasokoun, erve, lovenature has marked this note useful
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To oveis: 2 answersSunToucher 1 02-25 23:42
Our Planetingridshaul 1 02-13 08:11
To erve: ISO 500SunToucher 1 12-31 03:26
To horia: First trySunToucher 5 12-28 02:39
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Critiques [Translate]

great circle in the sky,Niek!
long exposure for a great result
best wishes for a happy Christmas

  • Great 
  • horias Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 837 W: 58 N: 2084] (11033)
  • [2009-12-25 3:08]

What a great capture!
Interesting exposure and time!
I like very much!

Hi Niek,
it's fascinating, I also would like to do such experiments some day, amazing.
I send you my warmest greetings, enjoy the Christmas-days
Sabine - wishnugaruda

Wonderful night capture, very good work!

Hi Niek,

quite a surprise, this wonderfully artistic view of the skies. You really don't shrink from new challenges. You might know it, birds that migrate at night use the pattern of apparent star movement over the sky to fix North. They observe the sky for a while while sitting, then decide which part of the star pattern has not moved, that is then their North. In contrast to man they don't recognize any particular star constellation or the North star by its position. You did it like the birds here, Niek!

My best wishes to you,

PS: thanks for the compliment on my last picture and the "influence of Markus" on my photography: after all, that is what I am on TN for, to learn from you good ones.

Ciao Niek. Magic graphic effects. What atmosphere! TFS.


  • Great 
  • horia Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2158 W: 224 N: 4749] (16656)
  • [2009-12-26 8:06]
  • [+]

Hi Niek

Haha...so you're into startrails, too :) I remember Paul saying he was looking to shoot some but i never saw one of his efforts yet.
You compilation here looks very nice for a first try. That German software seems to look great and really make all work a lot easier. I have to give it a go someday, too.
I'm not i understand why you went up to ISO400 since you didn't have any dark area that you wanted to get some details of (like a FG or something)...i'm guessing the trees are out of this question.
Just for star trails, ISO100 is more than plenty and i'm sure your next try with that will result in no noise at all with this technique.
I am curious on two aspects though:
1. In one very long exposure the motion of the trees makes them blurry. That's clear. But what happens if they only move very little and you get some almost sharp branches in different 30sec exposure and you blend those together? Wouldn't they appear both?
2. If my eyes aren't playing ticks on me, i see something interesting at the beginning and end of each trail...like a separate spot. They are visible especially at the longer trails from the lower left corner. What are they caused by?
Anyhow, i thank you for nice reference and congratulate you on a fist of many successful startrail shots!
Merry Christmas to you, too, my friend!


Hello Niek,
beautiful style, something that for years I think but I have not realised, the result is great, with a dynamic sense in the splendid photo!
have a beautiful Sunday! TFS
Wish you all the best for the new year!

  • Great 
  • lousat Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6595 W: 89 N: 15659] (65489)
  • [2009-12-27 13:55]

Hi Niek,this is a wonderful and professional work,need a great experience to make pics like that!Fantastic long exposure and postprocession,and a top quality of sharpness and colors...just my best compliments and thanks a lot for share this impressive work.Have a nice week,Luciano

Ciao Niek, fantastic view of sky with wonderful exposure, great techique, splendid composition, very well done, ciao Silvio

  • Great 
  • erve Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 96 W: 3 N: 131] (620)
  • [2009-12-29 12:21]
  • [+]

Hi niek,

great first go at star trails, ive been meaning to try this for a while, but likemyou have struggled to find a good location where the light pollution isnt over whelming.

I will definately give that software a go when i get round to it.

One queston, why iso 500? surely iso 100 would have been preferable.

tfs and happy christmas and new year


Hello Niek,

Stunning effect and a great composition!
And this is the kind of capture I'd never have the patience for hehehe...

On this first day of 2010 I also wish you a happy, healthy and prosperous new year!

Pablo -

Dear Niek,
I am back from three weeks in the mountains and work my way through the photos posted.

However, when I looked at your portfolio, I could not resist this VERY unusual capture.

It reminds me of the freezing night NW of Johannesburg - when we watched Haley's Comet - an outing arranged by the Johannesburg University. They also had a Telescope, which could be fixed onto a particular constellation, and it rendered an image similar to the one presented by you.

I am a technical idiot and do not understand, what you actually did, but I like it VERY MUCH and add it to my favorites.

Enjoy the rest of your week-end
greetings from South Africa with 41 C at lunch

  • Great 
  • oveis (35)
  • [2010-02-25 12:36]
  • [+]

Photo is very beautiful.

2 questions:
1. For photography of stars, the 10-20 lens is used?
2. How you took photos of stars? Consider whether a particular star is?

Hi Niek
I love the way your star trails turned out. I find it very interesting the the stars revolve around the north star.

It's sounds like a intricate process to create these trails. Thanks for sharing your notes on how to achieve this. I'll check out the website you've attached.
Have a great week.
PS I like your new profile photo

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