Saturday, 26 November 2011

My First Attempt At Star Trails

Hi All,

Early this morning made my first attempt at capturing star trails.
Image was captured near the 'Fossil Rock' area beside the Sharjah-Kalba / Maleha road in the United Arab Emirates.

Details after the jump....

I had just returned from a place called Wadi Bih (just North of the UAE in the bordering territory of the Sultanate of Oman).  A 'Wadi' is basically a dried up river bed or valley.  I initially started the afternoon chasing clouds in order to get wet.  No such luck here in Dubai....maybe in a few weeks.  By the time I entered the wadi, it was almost 6pm and therefore quite dark.  I decided to drive to the mountain top (beyond the wadi) to see if I could capture some star trails.  I figured the air would be clean and the sky would be without any light pollution.  As luck would have it, by the time I reached my shooting location, there were clouds....nudged right up against me!  But not good for shooting stars.  I stayed there for an hour or so but wasn't able to capture anything worthwhile.

So, I drove back home (after meandering here and there in Oman).  I reached around 12:30am.  I was not satisfied with the pictures.  So, I packed up my camping gear and decided to head out to my regular spot where I go for my 'quick unwind' sessions. 

I reached the spot (not the road that is tagged when you first open the link....but just a little south to the left of the hills) at around 2am.  Since I wasn't sure how long I'd be staying up there, I decided not to pitch my tent and just laid out a mat and couple of blankets to protect me from the cold (it eventually dropped down to 13 degree celsius). I took photos until about 5:30am after which my battery died. I then took a nap until around 6:45am and left at around 7:30am
I am not happy with the results as I was only shooting for 5 minutes at a time. I set the ISO to 100 and using a Canon 15mm 2.8, I shot the scene for approximately 5 minutes at the widest aperture.  Another point to note was that I shot the scene in tungsten (white balance) because the light falling on the hills were from the highway just a few kilometersaway from the shooting location.  While I shot a few other angles, compositions and times (both,  in terms of when and length), the picture below was what appeared the best as the dawn sky added a little more dynamism to the scene.

Image was captured near the 'Fossil Rock' area beside the Sharjah-Kalba / Maleha road in the United Arab Emirates.

The trails are small (length of the shot was only around 5 minutes, as mentioned before) on account of the fact that I had wasted my battery on longer shots, which showed more circular star trails but due to the orientation of the camera, the overall result was not that great.

The final result was tweaked slightly.  I added a little contrast and increased overall sharpness.

Let me know what you think.



  1. Wow!it;s really nice photo.Absolute luxury!

  2. Charles.. you wanna try these again?? Lets go together?