Polaris Star Trails

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The Algarve is having some very clear evenings (and days too!) but the forecast is for patchy clouds over the coming days. The Moon is also not visible right now, therefore, last night I decided to make the most of the dark and clear sky.

Earlier in the day I went on a scouting mission to find something interesting to put in the foreground of a Star Trail photograph.

Interestingly enough, it’s the same location (different direction) that I shot my Sunset Photos last week. I wanted to create a circle around Polaris (AKA The North Star) so needed a view northwards. This spot was ideal, so I returned after darkness had set in.

After more than two hours in complete darkness on top of this hill with nothing but a herd of cows and the occasional Owl noise to keep me company,  I returned home with 195 long exposure (30 seconds each) shots.

These shots have been merged together in Photoshop to create the star trail. The ruin was lit on just the first shot with a small LED torch.

This effect of the stars moving is actually the earth rotating on its axis. Polaris is positioned near to the North Pole Axis (hence the name North Star or Pole Star) which is why it’s almost static while all the other stars appear to circle around it. 

{Click image for a higher resolution, click Flickr Link in caption to view photo on Flickr}
Polaris Star Trails - D810, AF-S 14-24 f/2.8 @ 14mm, f/2.8, ISO1600, 30sec (195 shots merged) - {Flickr Link}


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