Saturday December 5 – Star Trails Over Lake Clifton
It was a rather warm Summer night on Saturday here in Perth and we had clear skies, so I decided to head out and spend a few hours shooting some star trails. I decided to head down to Lake Clifton http://www.lakeclifton.com.au South of Mandurah, and about 100km South of Perth. On this visit, there was no moon not like on my last visit http://eos20.wordpress.com/2009/08/07/august-7/ so conditions were ideal for shooting star trails, but having some moon light would have been ideal so I could have used the ambient light from the moon to illuminate the Thrombolites http://www.lakeclifton.com.au/yalgorup.html so had to use my spotlight to bring out the detail of the Thrombolites. I brought along two cameras on this visit, I bought my EOS 7D and used my new EF-S 15-85 IS lens, and I also brought along my old EOS 300D and 18-55 lens, and I also brought along my 50mm f/2.5 macro to use as a large aperture lens. I set up both cameras on tripods with shutter release cables, and I shot a series of 30 second exposures and combined them using the Star Trails stacking software http://www.startrails.de/ which I find does a better job then shooting a single long exposure which tends to result in a image full of long exposure noise which can easily ruin a nights work, and by using software I can delete frames if necessary (Planes flying though the exposure, camera shake, etc) and I get a cleaner final result and can shoot star trails pretty much anywhere without worrying about getting a over exposed shot when shooting near bright light sources such as in the city.
On this night it was pitch black, with no ambient lighting out here, since it’s located a fair way away from the nearest towns, which meant the stars were easily visible with very little light pollution other then headlights of passing cars off in the distance. There was a bit of lightning off towards the horizon East of my location when I arrived, but that only lasted about 30 mins and didn’t affect my shooting since I had the cameras pointed South to try and get the best star trail patterns, unfortunately I didn’t end up aiming the cameras directly at the Southern Star, so I was a bit off, and didn’t get the full circle I was after, but the results still came out well enough.
It was windy on this visit, unlike on my first visit where it was relativity calm which resulted in some nice reflections on the water, and the tide was coming in which meant the Thrombolites were submerged again on this visit, and I ended up getting wet to set my camera up low enough to get the composition I was after on my final star trail series, but I think it was worth it for the shot I ended up getting. Here are a few of the photos from the night: