While shooting the Star Trawler and Pole Star sequence, I noticed that the old, wrecked trawler Point Reyes could be shot facing due north so that Polaris would be centered within a circle of moving stars.
I decided to come back to the spot on a moonless night for some really long shots that would capture circular star trails around the stationary Polaris. Driving into the sunset past Samuel Taylor State Park I headed into a fog bank, and when I got to Inverness it was foggy, windy, and cold. I almost didn’t get out of the car. But I did, wandering down to the boat without my camera. As I looked up, I watched the sky clear.
Back at the car, I stripped and put on my woolen long underwear. It was going to be a long, cold vigil.
This was a warm-up test shot at three minutes (the 40 minute exposures came later). I like the way the Big Dipper is so clear and obvious in this photo.
For the curious, I supplemented the lighting on the boat with some discrete light painting with my head lamp. The trick, I find, is to keep the bursts of light short and constantly in motion.
[Nikon D300, 12-24mm zoom lens at 12mm (18mm in 35mm terms), 180 seconds (3 minutes) at f/5.6 and ISO 100, tripod mounted.]