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Star Trails at the Watchtower



Star Trails at the Watchtower at the Desert View Grand Canyon National Park South Rim.

Star Trails at the Watchtower at the Desert View Grand Canyon National Park South Rim.
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1 Comment | Report
darmoyer
 
darmoyer September 09, 2017
Awesome shot

Behind The Lens

Location
I took this photo at the Desert View Watchtower at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. Night Sky Photography has always fascinated me, so I am always looking for new and different subject to include with our amazing starry skies.
Time
This image was taken over a span of about an hour at about 11PM. Need to make sure the skies are nice and dark to be able to pick up all the stars.
Lighting
I lucked out with the lighting on the tower, as all of the illumination is from a light above an entranceway into the tower. Since it was below and the light cast upward, it allowed for the rough textures of the stones used to build the tower to show through really well.
Equipment
I used my Canon 5D Mark iv, Canon 16-35mm f/2.8L lens, Manfroto 410 geared Ball Head, Vanguard Alta Pro 263AB tripod, with a Vello Shutterboss II Wireless shutter release.
Inspiration
My inspiration for this photo was the night sky. Looking out over the Grand Canyon and seeing so many stars, I wanted to have a subject that gives an impression that you could walk right up and reach the stars.
Editing
Post processing for me mainly consists of some minor Lightroom adjustments to equalize all the exposure levels, then pull them (about 60 images) into Photoshop to blend them together to show the trails.
In my camera bag
The equipment that I carry in my bag varies greatly depending on my destination and subject. When I am backpacking into a location I bring my camera body (Canon 5D Mark iv), 16-35mm f/2.8L, 24-105mm f/4L, tripod, remote trigger, memory cards and lots of batteries. If I drive to a location and have easy access to my gear the list will get larger to include a longer zoom lens like 70-200 f/2.8L and often a 2x converter.
Feedback
As for some advice for someone wanting to capture something similar, the easiest thing I can say is to try it and have fun!! Take your time and really enjoy your surroundings. Many times I have focused so much on getting an image that I almost forgot to enjoy where I was. So take a moment to enjoy those times. For this image I used an ISO of 2500, 16mm focal length, f/2.8 aperature and multiple 30 second exposures (blended in Photoshop). Make sure to use an intervalometer to keep the timings consistent. The end results will be much better. If you are going for the most visible amount of stars, you must be patient and wait until the skies get really dark after the twilight hours. Remember to experiment as much as you want as well. In the digital age that we are in, it doesn't cost anything but an additional shutter click to try something new.

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