- A stacked composite image is less noisy than a single very long exposure.
- The effective exposure time possible with a single battery is extended by segmenting the exposure (see my comment about long exposure noise reduction below).
- Single captures that contain disturbing elements such as airplane trails or light from the photographer’s headlamp can be eliminated from the stack if desired. In other words, stacking gives you granular control over the time slices.
|Within the Photoshop Statistics script, the default setting, Mean, produced some kind of average sampling, not a very striking result. Standard deviation was interesting, but not ultimately satisfying. Range was good, but Maximum was best. My assumption is that this blended in the maximum value for every sampled point, so it makes sense that it produced the brightest star trails….Night Vortex|
|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)…..Between Earth and Sky|
|This one is a combination of sixteen exposures, taken early enough in the night that the moon was still lighting Tenaya Canyon and Half Dome….Yosemite by Moon and Star|
|Taken from old Inspiration Point, this image uses a layer mask and gradient to combine a brighter foreground image with a stacked set of captures exposed for the sky and stars….Down in the Valley|
|Many of my night photos are created in homage to Vincent van Gogh, who wrote in a letter to his brother Theo, “It often seems to me that the night is much more alive and richly colored than the day.” The star swirl in this image seems particularly van Gogh, so I thought I’d name this one Starry Night, after one of his most famous works….Starry Night|
|This fisheye starry night stacked photo from Glacier Point consists of 12 captures at four minutes and ISO 100 and f/3.2, and one high ISO capture at four minutes and ISO 800 and f/4. The bright purple comes from sensor flaring in the higher ISO capture in the stack. I intentionally left the foreground dark (the way it looks in the individual exposures) rather than trying to blend in a brighter foreground….Starry Night 3|
|Last night at Kirby Cove the weather was balmy. I ate a chicken sandwich from Bakesale Betty’s in the dark and called home to say goodnight to the kids while the timer took care of generating thirteen exposures, each at four minutes and f/5.6 (ISO 100). I had to throw away one of the exposures later because the airplane trails in it were just too distracting….Bridge and Stars|
|Against the backdrop of pounding surf and a light mist on the ocean, I photographed star trails behind Point Reyes Lighthouse in this portrait of the edge of night….Edge of Night|
|This view is looking north out from the tip of Point Reyes across Bodega Bay. This is a storm-bound, windswept coast, often shrouded in fog, so I was lucky to get clear skies for the star trails….Night View of Bodega Bay|
|I dressed for winter, and headed out into the night. The paths were icy but the stars were crisp and bright. I made my way to a clearing in the woods below Yosemite Falls. Easy enough in the day, but a little harder to find at night. I knew Polaris was right above the Falls…..First Light|