Finally, after a long time longing for a shot I´ve seen so many times both online and offline, I´ve  got my first real startrails image myself! While being in Bella Italia on vacation with my family, I´ve  found  a great spot to get this one done, at the so-called ” Torre di Sfinale”, located on the Gargano Peninsula, better known as the “Spur” of Italy. Spending the whole daytime either in the pool or on the beach, I packed my stuff before sunset and went for the shoreline to get nice sunset and twilight shots. But than began the main part of the story. From finding a good spot, composing the frame and  getting the settings clear, it takes about three hours of “work” to get the photo done and about another one hour of processing it at home on the computer. Normally, I´m not talking about technical details, but this time it might be interesting for some of you. Camera: Pentax k-x, lens: Pentax smc 18-55 DAL 3,5-5,6 @ 20mm/3,5, mode: RAW, iso: 800, white balance: daylight, all in all 168 single exposures/each 30 sec. long, stacked together with, a for free software, which works great! As some of you might know, the Pentax k-x has no connection for a cable release/self timer, so you have to turn on the option “Continuous Shooting”, Manual mode, and set the time on 30 sec. By holding the shutter release button down the whole time, the camera while fire constantly every 30 seconds. The trick is to build something that holds the button down for approximately two hours. I used some tape this time, but that doesn´t worked really well, so when I got back home I´ve buildt a holder on my own, which works perfect now. When your composition is ok., the setting are done and your tripod is standing sturdy, push that button down, fix it and don´t touch it any more for the next two hours or so. Than, get yourself comfortable,  watch the stars and be aware what great life you are living and in which great world you are living in! There will be some falling stars you can watch or the ISS passing by, or just enjoy life! As you might notice throughout the night, the stars are wandering – no, not the stars! The earth is rotating counter-clockwise and that´s why it looks like the stars are moving from east to west. I can´t think of a better chance for a photographer to make time visible! Give if it a try if you will, you might not be succesful the first few  times you are trying it, and it can get a bit scary sometimes being out alone in a moonless night, but if you get the first sense of achievement, I bet you, you  will get some kind of addicted to it! Enjoy!


 Startrails & “Torre Sfinale” @ Gargano Peninsula, Italy (click on image for enlargement)


“Be glad of life because it gives you the chance to love and to work and to play and to look up at the stars.”  (Henry Van Dyke,  American short-story Writer, Poet and Essayist, 1852-1933)




10 thoughts on “Startrails…

  1. dawnschuck

    This image is stunning. I’m so envious – after years of attempts I still haven’t managed to get ‘The Shot’ – many thanks for including the technical info, the ISO 800 setting is unchartered territory, many that’s where I’m going wrong. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Pingback: The Colors Of Stars | Werner Priller

    1. Werner Priller Post author

      Thanks 😉
      Try this free software: or; you can also aligne it with PhotoShop;
      or take a single exposed frame which I did a few weeks ago with 82 minutes, but than you have to really know the settings….
      this week I´ve found out that you even can fake startrails with the new PS 6 version..
      a nice startrail image can take a lots of hours of “work” from finding a nice composition, setting up, exposure time and almost the same amount of time for post-processing, e.g. getting rid of airplane tracks etc.;
      there´s a cool e-book out by Jim Goldstein: with tons of cool stuff…


  3. niktasmits

    Thanks for the technical info! I just got inspired by someone who posted about this, I got here via your comments there. There is no more excuse for not trying it myself 😉


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