Death Valley Star Trails

Death Valley Star Trails

Death Valley is one of the grandest and most expansive landscapes on the North American continent. Therefore, camping at Furnace Creek is something of a paradox because conditions are cramped and noisy. There’s precious little space for people who don’t travel in recreational behemoths replete with generators and air conditioning.

On a recent visit I was none-the-less glad to pitch my tent in Furnace Creek with its below-sea-level warmth after the bitter cold of higher elevations. I picked my spot carefully: across the service road was a bluff facing north. After reconnoitering, I felt like I could leave my camera unattended because it couldn’t be seen from below.

I used an AC adapter to plug my DSLR into a lithium ion power source most often used to fire studio lighting equipment on location. Next, I set my intervalometer with the camera on Bulb to fire an unlimited number of exposures. I used my 10.5mm lens, with the aperture set to f/4 and the ISO to 400. Then I climbed down the bluff, and went to sleep.

Back home, I used Statistics in Maximum mode to stack 75 of the four minute exposures, for a total lapsed exposure time of roughly five hours. Note, this took almost as long to process on the computer as it did to expose—definitely plenty of time for dinner and a nap while my fully loaded Mac Pro did its thing.

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

One Comment

  1. JTasoff August 15, 2011 at 12:14 pm #

    The very best of luck on the competition, though “luck” is not a factor.

3 Trackbacks

  1. By Valley of Fire Star Trails | Photoblog 2.0 on March 5, 2011 at 5:40 pm

    […] 2.0 Digital Photos & Inspiration from Harold Davis « Death Valley Star Trails Photoblog 2.0 […]

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    […] are a couple of other long composite exposures of circling stars: Death Valley Star Trails and Valley of Fire Star Trails. If you are interested in this kind of photography, please consider […]

  3. By Shortlisted | Photoblog 2.0 on August 13, 2011 at 11:25 am

    […] var addthis_product = 'wpp-261'; var addthis_config = {"data_track_clickback":false};My image of Death Valley Star Trails has been shortlisted by the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, England for their 2011 Astronomy […]

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