Advanced Techniques for Photographing Star Trails

In this episode, Majeed, Nick, and Jim talk about photographing star trails.


Under a moonlit night
Under a moonlit night

Shooting Star Trails


  • Moonlit nights are a perfect time for star trails because it illuminates the foreground, and the milky way ins't visible anyway
  • If you’re going with the separate shot technique, you’ll want a separate exposure for the foreground.
  • Using lower iso's (800) often yields a more appealing image, because the sky doesn't have too much going on.
  • For a single long exposure, Don’t go too short on the shutter speed or it looks like a mistake.  >6 minutes with a wide angle lens.
  • Find the north star for setting up the composition (the bright one below the big dip)
  • Nick: a perfect time for light painting since you’re already dealing with layers in photoshop


Nick: Software use to stitch them together


Nick: Apps for finding North Star, and just all around useful for night photography


Jim mentions comet-shaped trails:



Majeed’s inspiration of the week

Enrico Fossati is an image maker based in northern Italy. Enrico’s work is marked by dark and dreamy moods inspired by movies and artworks from artists he loves.


5 thoughts on “Advanced Techniques for Photographing Star Trails”

  1. Hi. Great podcast. Wanted to point out an error. Long Exposure Noise Reduction actually affects the RAW file. The reason it takes so long is that it takes a second exposure with the shutter closed so all it captures is sensor noise. Then it subtracts the sensor noise data from the exposed image, which has image plus sensor noise. It does not need Canon software. Any RAW processor will read the files.

  2. Hey guys great podcast! This one was really especially beneficial and I have shared it out with my community. One question, The podcast doesn’t show under the Podcast menu on this website.

  3. Great episode. I shot my first star trails this year and appreciate the additional information. Love all your podcasts and look forward to them each week. Thanks

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