I really love my Pentax k-x camera; the handling and the image quality are superb, but “she” lacks the possibility of using an intervalometer, and that is crucial for making star trails images. After a while of reasoning, I ordered a “used-like new” Canon 1100 d from Amazon, which are surprisingly affordable, along with the essential attachment, a Pixel TC-252 intervalometer. Last Tuesday has been the night to try things out, and it´s been pure fun. Compose the frame, program the device, set the camera, make sure the batteries are charged and let the technic do its magic….
Wheat Field Star Trails, Lower Bavaria
This is a composite image of 38 single shots, each 4 min., f 2.8, Iso 200; Canon 1100 d, Sigma 10mm/f 2.8, on Manfrotto tripod 055cxpro3, Manfrotto ballhead 498 RC2. Yes, that´s right, Iso 200! The longer the exposure time, the lower the Iso setting – the lower the Iso setting, the lower the noise in the image. The faster the lens, the lower the Iso setting, the lower the noise in the image. Make sure you set the in-camera setting “noise reduction” off! Otherwise the camera will produce for every image a dark frame image, which means there will be gaps between in the final star trails image. There is also a cool blog about night photography by the master himself, Art Wolfe – http://blog.artwolfe.com/2012/07/ask-art/
The ambient light which illuminated the whole area comes from a small town in the background. If you are looking for stepping into night photography, make sure you are going for fast lenses with an opening for at least f 2.8 or smaller (2.0,1.8…). They can be more expensive, but there is a huge difference in “recording the night” by using the “fast ones”. As always, one can only become a master by experience (unless he is a born genius…). Don´t be afraid of the dark or like someone said it on an astronomy platform: ” I love the stars too much than to be afraid of the night!” . Enjoy!