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  1. #1

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    Taking pictures of the stars

    I'm going on a camping trip next week, and am pretty excited to try and get some pictures of the stars. I was inspired by these wonderful pictures of the recent meteor shower: http://blog.flickr.net/en/2009/08/13/perseid-showers/

    Anyway, I was just wondering if anyone could give me some aperture/shutter speed combos for capturing the stars on 200ISO b&w film. I'll be up in the Rocky Mountains far from light pollution. It's my first time trying this, so I'm expecting to do quite a bit of bracketing, but I was just looking for some ball park numbers. Should I bracket around 2 minute or 20 minutes? I plan on using a tripod and shutter release cable, of course.

    I was looking at The Ultimate Exposure Chart and according to that I'm at an EV of -4 to -6 which means a 4minute exposure at f/4 and an 8 min at f/5.6. Does that sound about right?

    Any tips on bracketing or nighttime star photography in general? Thanks bunches!

  2. #2

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    with such long exposures, make sure to compensate for reciprocity failure. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Recipro...photography%29

  3. #3

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    Thanks for pointing this out to me! It's pretty interesting, but it looks like I'm in for quite a long exposure. At 100 seconds, the datasheet recommends lengthening the exposure 18x! Is this unusually long? I'm thinking I might have to stop by the camera store and pick up some 1600 speed film if I plan on sleeping at all during this trip! Any recommendations on film without such a significant reciprocity failure?

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by beala View Post
    Any recommendations on film without such a significant reciprocity failure?
    Don't bother with any of the super-fast films if combating reciprocity failure is your goal. They have the worst reciprocity during long exposures of any film. T-Max 100, Fuji Across, or Fuji Provia, T64, and Astia have amazing reciprocity characteristics, and all of them are actually faster than 400 films in long exposures. Perhaps this is an oversimplification, but there is a reason that most star photography is not done on 400 and faster films.
    2F/2F

    "Truth and love are my law and worship. Form and conscience are my manifestation and guide. Nature and peace are my shelter and companions. Order is my attitude. Beauty and perfection are my attack."

    - Rob Tyner (1944 - 1991)

  5. #5
    Dan Henderson's Avatar
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    well, first you have to stake out Hollywood restaurant with other papara....oh, you meant...never mind.

    Seriously, if you don't want to deal with reciprocity, try Fuji Acros film. I am not sure how long you can expose Acros without compensating for reciprocity failure, but I have done 8 minute exposures based on a metered reading of how much light was left in the sky, and got good negatives.


    web site: Dan Henderson, Photographer.com

    blog: https://danhendersonphotographer.wordpress.com/

    I am not anti-digital. I am pro-film.

  6. #6
    Sirius Glass's Avatar
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    If you want star trails, you want long exposures. The Earth rotates at 15º/hour so if you aim at the North Pole, you will get 15º of arc. If you aim at the Zenith [no not the television, straight overhead], you will get some arc but it will be fairly flat. If you can, leave the shutter open at a small f/stop [f/11 or f/16] for an hour or two.

    It would be a good idea to use a stable tripod, too.

    Steve
    Warning!! Handling a Hasselblad can be harmful to your financial well being!

    Nothing beats a great piece of glass!

    I leave the digital work for the urologists and proctologists.

  7. #7

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    I recently shot a couple star shots (first time ever). I used Fuji T64, a 28mm lens at f/2.0, and anywhere from 30 seconds to 2 mins. I bracketed of course.

    Some of the slower films are actually faster once you get much above 30 seconds or so due to reciprocity.

  8. #8

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    i may have the star wrong but if you point to polaris
    ( north star/end of the handle of the little dipper )
    all the stars will make concentric circles around IT ...
    polaris doens't rotate ...

    have fun!

    john

  9. #9
    Sirius Glass's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jnanian View Post
    i may have the star wrong but if you point to polaris
    ( north star/end of the handle of the little dipper )
    all the stars will make concentric circles around IT ...
    polaris doens't rotate ...

    have fun!

    john
    Actually, Polaris in not exactly at the North Pole so it will make a small circle if you could photograph it for twenty-four hours.

    Canopus in the Southern hemisphere is further off from the South Pole IIRC and would make a larger, circle again, if you could photograph it for twenty-four hours. FYI: at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory interplanetary spacecraft missions, like Voyager and Galileo, uses Canopus for celestial navigation and attitude control.

    Steve
    Warning!! Handling a Hasselblad can be harmful to your financial well being!

    Nothing beats a great piece of glass!

    I leave the digital work for the urologists and proctologists.

  10. #10

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    Steve,

    Wouldn't f/11 or f/16 be too tiny an aperture for this?
    2F/2F

    "Truth and love are my law and worship. Form and conscience are my manifestation and guide. Nature and peace are my shelter and companions. Order is my attitude. Beauty and perfection are my attack."

    - Rob Tyner (1944 - 1991)

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