Sports Photography: Vinay Menon
Macro Photography: Jishnu Babu

“We of the night will know many things of which sleepers will never dream.”

                                                                                                                         – Bessie Hyde

Star Trail Photography

  Star trails are the continuous paths created by the stars. These incredible start trails can be captured after nightfall with  the long time exposure setting. The camera stays fixed at a point and the stars move with an apparent motion as  the night passes (actually caused by Earth’s spin). Hence, the camera tracks the start trails by being fixed at one point. The resulting photos show the quintessential nightly movement of stars on the sky’s dome.

  There are a few things to consider when making a star trail image; the first is setting of your frame means your composition.  A good foreground will be helpful to your image, if lake or river is there, it will be bonus for your composition, the stars can reflect off on the surface of water. You can use a mirror also to get the reflection of the stars; the composition will be stronger by doing this with proper natural landscapes.

You have to shoot with wide lens so the maximum area can be covered; this offers more stars to fill the night sky.

Camera Settings :

 Camera setting depends on how much light there is present. If you try to take in city area, it is very hard to get more number of stars. If you go in outskirt area, where there is a minimum light, the camera settings should be

Shutter Speed: 30 seconds

Aperture: f/3.5 or which is maximum

ISO: 800

  If you take the photos with more ISO, noise may come, so ISO below 800 is preferred. Take a single photo and see what you get. If the exposure is too bright, decrease the ISO first.  If the image is too dark, try increasing the ISO to compensate.

  In the dark, it is not easy to get the AF to lock on to anything, but do not worry there are several solutions to this.

  If you are including foreground objects I suggest making sure that they are in focus. If you are using a wide angle lens the foreground object and the stars will probably both be in focus even at a very wide aperture.

  Some lenses will not have those markings so shining the light on the foreground subject while using the AF function may work if the flashlight is bright. If not go lay the flashlight on the ground at the base of what you are shooting and focus on that.


  It runs on Mac and Linux as well as Windows. Open up the program and import your images. Hit start and within seconds your image is finished. Check out the homepage to see the great features it has.

  • Photoshop Stacking Action

  This method gets the job done but is slow and ties up memory while stacking.

  This is very basic star-trail software for beginners and very easy to use. We can also make startrail timelapse by this software. It is not available for Mac.

  (All these software are available on internet and are free)




Jolly Patel
Pune, Maharashtra
Sports Photography: Vinay Menon
Macro Photography: Jishnu Babu