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How to Photograph Star Trails: Here’s a Beginner’s Guide

Here’s an 8-minute tutorial from Nature TTL and astrophotographer Matthew Saville about how to photograph star trails. Considered by some as the holy grail of astrophotography, this technique harnesses the rotation of the Earth for captivating images.

Photos like this can be created by those brave enough to stand in the cold throughout the night with their cameras pointed upwards:

Saville starts by reminding photographers not to use in-camera noise reduction for star trails or you might start seeing stars disappearing from the shot. If you’re shooting in a cold environment, the temperature will reduce the amount of color noise you’ll see from a long exposure time.

Make sure you have a good battery too, as if you run out of juice during the shoot then you’ll see gaps in your trails while you’re changing over and not shooting.

Saville also swears by using a higher ISO speed and a wider aperture. These are two factors which will give you brighter and more obvious stars in the shot.

Check out the full video above for more tips for photographing star trails, and subscribe to the Nature TTL channel for weekly nature photography tutorials.


Disclaimer: I own and operate the Nature TTL YouTube channel.


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