Night Sky | Camera Settings

Star trails can add a punch to the Night Sky Landscape.  Star trails will have different colors depending on the temperature of the stars.  Hot young stars will be the blue trails and the old cooler stars will be the red and warmer colored trails. 

The Earth’s rotation causes stars to appear as lines, ‘star trails’, when the exposure is as little as 15 seconds, depending on the camera and lens focal length.  See my January blog titled “The 600 Rule ” for more information on choosing lens focal lengths for Night Sky Photography.   
  • Attach cable release 
  • Set camera or cable release with a 1-4 second interval between shots
  • Set the exposure mode to ‘Bulb’
  • Set the camera to shoot RAW
  • Turn off ‘noise reduction’ feature
  • Turn off the lens ‘image stabilizer’
  • Turn off auto focus
  • Set aperture between f2.8 and f5.6
  • Focus manually on a distant bright light source

Delicate Arch and colored Star Trails

To create long star trails I combine a series of shots, 20 to 30 seconds in length, and blend them together in post processing.  This way a “combined” long, long exposure can be made while minimizing the image noise and keeping ambient or artificial light sources from being overexposed.  

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