Star Trawler

Star Trawler 1

Star Trawler 1, photo by Harold Davis. View this image larger.

This is a 1,204 second (or about twenty minute) exposure of the wrecked fishing trawler Point Reyes. I’ve photographed this boat before, but never at night.

There was a bright moon in the sky, and as I walked across the mud flats behind the Inverness General Store, my fear was that all that moonlight would detract from the starlight. As I set up my tripod, polka music came faintly from the Czech restaurant in Inverness. Vladimir’s, it seems is still run by 78-year-old Vlad, and according to this review sometimes features live music from the old country, which must have been what I was hearing. Somehow, the music seemed to fit the slightly sad scene of the wrecked boat forever grounded on the mudbank.

As I began running test exposures, it became clear from my review in the LCD that my fears that moonlight would render colors monotonic were misplaced. It’s true that the stars were not as bright in the sky as they would have been on a moonless night. But the moonlight brightly lit the dark mass of the trawler (helped along in this exposure, I confess, with a little judicious light painting with my head lamp). The moonlight also created the reflections in the water in the foreground. If you look closely, you’ll even see reflected star trails.

And the astounding thing was that to my eye the world lit by moonlight was close to monochromatic, but the sensor picked up things with the vivid colors you see here.

For this long exposure, I stopped the lens down to f/22, with the idea of picking up as much star motion as I could.

[Nikon D300, 12-24mm zoom lens at 13mm (19.5mm in 35mm terms), 1,204 seconds at f/22 and ISO 100, tripod mounted.]

This entry was posted in Digital Night, Landscape, Photography, Point Reyes.

One Comment

  1. republic April 18, 2008 at 1:49 am #

    Thanks for the detailed explanation of this shot. How many shots did you take to get the desired exposure time?

5 Trackbacks

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  2. […] the course of a couple of hours. The sequence started with The Long and the Short, and included Star Trawler. Like Star Trawler, this last capture in the series is a 1,204 second (20 minute) […]

  3. […] shooting the Star Trawler and Pole Star sequence, I noticed that the old, wrecked trawler Point Reyes could be shot facing […]

  4. […] Saturday evening we went to photograph the Point Reyes trawler behind the Inverness general store. I was hoping for another shot of the star trails around Polaris […]

  5. By Blast from the Past: Between Earth and Sky on January 7, 2016 at 9:03 am

    […] and I stopped at the wreck of the Point Reyes fishing trawler. Many people like to photograph this trawler, which is easily accessible outside of Inverness, […]

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