Between Earth and Sky

Between Earth and Sky

Between Earth and Sky, photo by Harold Davis. View this image larger.

On our way home from a sunset-to-night hike on the Tomales Point fork of Point Reyes, Mark 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, California.

The week before, at my Point Reyes night photography workshop, I’d been stymied in my idea of stacking photos to produce circular star trails (stymied because it was cloudy). But this time it was clear. The stars were bright, although a little less than on Tomales Point, probably because of the ambient light pollution.

I pointed the camera north, and used a digital fisheye lens to maximize the celestial rotation of the star trails.

First I tested the light with a one minute exposure at ISO 800 at f/3.5. Then I made an eight minute ISO 100 exposure (with in-camera long exposure noise reduction enabled) for the foreground. This image in its entirety is found below (I think it is interesting in its own right, with the still stars at the center and circular star trails around the edges).

Next, I turned noise reduction off, and programmed my Nikon MC-36 remote for twenty exposures, each capture at four minutes, ISO 100, and f/5.6.

It was damp and a bit chilly in the dark, and for a while Mark and I left my camera on autopilot and sat some distance away in my car, listening to the superb and eerie music of Alison Krauss and Robert Plant. After twelve exposures (about 48 minutes) our patience wore out and weariness won. Mark had a plane to catch in the morning for a business meeting, and I’ve been going on fumes since Katie Rose was born. I stopped the automated exposure process, and packed it in.

This morning, I combined the thirteen images in Photoshop using the Statistics script, choosing Maximum as the method for combination. An airplane trail in one of the captures made it into the stack, and I decided to keep this apparent visual anomaly. Finally, I layered in the longer exposure for the detail in the foreground and boat.

[Above: Thirteen captures, all captures Nikon D300, 10.5mm digital fisheye, tripod mounted; one capture 8 minutes at f/3.5 and ISO 100; twelve captures 4 minutes at f/5.6 and ISO 100; star trails created by statistical stacking of 13 exposures; foreground created by layer with the 8 minute exposure using a gradient and layer mask. Below: Nikon D300, 10.5mm digital fisheye, 8 minutes at f/3.5 and ISO 100, tripod mounted.]

Point Reyes Trawler at Eight

View this image larger.

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

One Comment

  1. JeppeTT January 6, 2010 at 7:39 am #

    Hello Harold.
    I think your photos are absolutely impressing, and you certainly make me want to experiment with it myself. I just don’t quite understand how you calculate your f-stops at long shutter speed?

15 Trackbacks

  1. […] star trails, and I even schlepped a second camera body and tripod so I could multitask by taking automated exposures for stacking in […]

  2. […] and two cameras. I set one of the cameras to automatically capture a series of exposures, with statistical stacking in mind; with the other camera I […]

  3. […] The ambient light from San Francisco made the stars relatively less bright compared to the wilderness, and I wasn’t pointed north so my circles were smaller. […]

  4. […] D300, 10.5mm digital fisheye, foreground 10 minutes at f/2.8 and ISO 100, background 13 stacked exposures at 4 minutes and f/4 and ISO 100, total capture time about one hour, tripod […]

  5. […] pointed north. Polaris, the North Star, will be stationary in the center of circular moving stars. Between Earth and Sky illustrates this […]

  6. By Moonset over San Francisco | Photoblog 2.0 on December 2, 2008 at 8:27 pm

    […] stacked all the exposures together using the Photoshop Statistics action. I think my computer took more time thinking about combining the nineteen exposures than they took […]

  7. By Morse Code | Photoblog 2.0 on December 27, 2008 at 9:58 am

    […] The shorter trails go with the shorter exposure, and the longer trails with the longer exposure. Stacking star trails is usually done with many exposures created using an interval timer, but I stacked with only two to […]

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    […] that you better have something interesting in the foreground of a fisheye composition (consider my Between the Earth and Sky as an […]

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    […] is a stacked composite of ten four minute exposures at f/3.5 each, at ISO 200, using my 10.5mm digital fisheye, for a […]

  11. By Stacking Star Trails | Photoblog 2.0 on August 12, 2009 at 5:53 pm

    […] north. Polaris, the North Star, will be stationary in the center of circular moving stars.   Between Earth and Sky illustrates this well. In addition, the wider the angle of the lens you use the greater the […]

  12. […] D300, 10.5mm digital fisheye, foreground 10 minutes at f/2.8 and ISO 100, background 13 stacked exposures at 4 minutes and f/4 and ISO 100, total capture time about one hour, tripod mounted. […]

  13. […] have photographed the beached Point Reyes trawler, located near Inverness, California, by starlight and by daylight in the afternoon. This photo was by iPhone, made while my boys clambered over the […]

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

    […] Originally published September 22, 2008 […]

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