07 Mar A night with the stars
Source: Fujifilm X Blog
There’s something very special about taking photographs at night. Aside from the challenges of working in low light, successful images reveal things that our eyes don’t ordinarily see; the result of working with lengthy exposures that can run into seconds and often minutes. For me, the ultimate example of this is a star trail, which is why you’ll often find see me heading out when darkness falls.
Before you shoot a star trail, you need to do some groundwork. First, check the weather forecast – you need a clear night with a cloud-free sky. Ideally, you should choose a location that’s away from a town or city to avoid light pollution from affecting your image. And, because clear nights can often be cold, make sure you wrap up warm; you’re going to be out for a few hours.
Equipment-wise, an X Series body with a full-charged battery and wide-angle lens is the best option – ideally this should be a prime as you’ll be using a wide aperture around F1.4 or F2. You can use a zoom, but it could mean you’ll be out for even longer. If your camera features an intervalometer function, so much the better, otherwise you’ll also need a remote release. On top of this, a solid tripod is a must along with a torch (I’m using a LumeCube) and a spare battery can be useful, too.
Once you’re on location, and assuming you’re working in the northern hemisphere, the first job is to locate Polaris, the Pole Star, which will sit at the centre of your star trail circle. It’s typically the brightest star in the sky, but if you want to be 100% sure you’ve got the right one, locate The Plough and then trace a line up from the two stars on the right hand side of the Plough’s ‘blade’ until you find the bright Polaris.
Break out your X Series camera and compose the shot with Polaris in the frame to give a point that will barely move as you
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