This is one of my favorite images. I drove to Grimes Canyon, which was about and hour and a half from where I live. I walked down into the canyon and sat waiting for it to get dark. I sat in the grass for over two hours taking this photo and I was incredibly happy with the result. It was taken at 10pm on August 5th, 2016.
I wanted to capture a full view of the canyon and the sky. There were many cars driving on this road and I had to search through the 150 images taken to select car lights that weren't too bright. I love the yellow glow in the sky on the bottom right and how the purple color gets darker towards the top of the image.
This was shot with my Canon 5D MarkIII, using my Canon 24mm 1.4L lens, and a standard tripod.
I had always seen pictures of Grimes Canyon and loved the way the road looked. I just moved out to California a month before this photo was taken and I was very eager to get to this area. I have seen countless different photographs from here but never a star trails photo. It was far enough away from the city that I knew the stars would show up and I knew it wasn't going to be cloudy that night. I had nothing planned that night so I sat in the grass for two hours pressing the shutter and watching cars drive by. It was a great experience to be alone down in this canyon.
Through the two hours of photographing it ended up being about 150 images. I spent the entire next day on Photoshop merging the images and creating the star trails. There was an airport behind the canyon, and there were an unbelievable amount of airplanes flying right through the middle of the photo. It took me hours to mask out the airplane trails and still keep the star trails visible. I then had to choose the right traffic lights exposure and in the end I added contrast and color through curves.
In my camera bag
I bought my Canon 5D MarkIII a little over a year ago and I always bring it with me as my main camera. I have a Canon 24mm 1.4L lens which I love to use for night photography images. Every one of my night photos is taken with this lens because the low f-stop and great quality creates a beautiful image. I also have an Canon 85mm 1.8 lens which I love for portraits and creating a great depth of field in the images. And I have a Canon 24-105mm f/4 which I use mainly for my day to day photography and when I go on trips. The focal length really helps capture a wide range of images.
You have to have a lot of patience to capture an image like this. Not only do you have to sit and wait for a few hours in the night for the capture to happen, you also have to spend many hours editing and work in extreme detail on what you want the image to look like. But all the time spent working on it is worth it. In the end you will be extremely satisfied and proud of your image if you take your time and don't rush anything. The longer you capture the exposure and sit outside the more interesting and cool the star trails will look. I recommend trying a photo like this because it is a very fun process and lets you create a very unique type of photograph. Also, I recommend having a shutter release cord. I didn't have one so I had to manually press the shutter every 30 seconds for 2 hours.