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  1. #1

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    How to shoot desert with many stars in the sky?

    Hi,

    I want to shoot a desert landscape with many starts on the sky. This is a night photography, in a very dark area.

    I have:

    1. Contax 645.
    2. Manfrotto photo tripod.
    3. Mechanical cable release for long exposures.
    4. Nikon flash to light the desert. (not for stars )

    Which Contax 645 lens do you recommend for night landscapes/stars photography?
    1. 35mm f3.5 - 28 seconds exposure max without tracking the stars.
    2. 55mm f3.5 - 18 seconds exposure max without tracking the stars.
    3. 80mm f2 - 12 seconds exposure max without tracking the stars.
    4. 140mm f2.8 - 7 seconds exposure max without tracking the stars.

    Which film do you recommend for such night work? I have 120 films
    1. Ilford PAN F PLUS (ISO 50).
    2. Kodak TMX (T-MAX PRO ISO 100).
    3. Kodak TXP (TRI-X PAN PR ISO 320).
    4. Fujifilm ASTIA 100-F (ISO 100).
    5. Fujifilm VELVIA RVP (ISO 50).
    6. Kodak PORTRA 160VC (ISO 160).

    What else I must to know?
    Any "how to" is very welcome!
    Thank

  2. #2
    Ole
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    I'm only guessing here, but I would suggest starting with the fastest lens: The 80mm f:2. A 12 second exposure should give discernible stars without trails, although I would be tempted to do at least one very long exposure complete with star trails?

    So your flash output very likely has to be reduced not to overload the film completely - I don't know the guide number of your flash, but assuming it to be a "strong normal" 28 or so you should get correct exposure at 14m at f:2 and ISO 100 film. Manual exposure and calculating from real (not stated) gide number is the only way to do it here, I'm afraid.

    film?

    If you can, try with B&W (TMX) first then learn from the results of that before your next try with colour. If not, jump into the deep end with Astia.

    Since stars are very small, fast film is not an advantage: The coarser grain tends to mask smaller/fainter stars. Too slow film is not so great either, since you want as many stars as possible. For the same reasons reversal film may not be best, although I'm sure some will disagree, maybe it's just that I've never liked Velvia?
    -- Ole Tjugen, Luddite Elitist
    Norway

  3. #3

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    Ole, thank.
    I think to try Astia 100F, because it can be exposed up to 8 minutes, while max recommended exposure for Vilvia 50 is 30 seconds (FujiFilm pdf docs).

  4. #4
    Ian Grant's Avatar
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    Misrach I think used car headlights to paint the desert. You can paint with a flashgun, walking around giving multiple exposures.

    It's quite easy,I done similar in a mine.

    Ian

  5. #5

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    This was shot on Velvia 100 with Pentax 645 IIn with 45-85 mm lens. The exposure was 1 hour at f4.5 (wide open). The foreground lighting came from the house.



    Again shot on the Pentax with the same lens. Film stock was Ilford Delta 100 , exposure was 45 minutes wide open. Film developed in D76, printed on Ilford FB warm tone and selenium toned.

    Experiment. This not an exact science and requires a lot of experimentation to get what appeals to your aesthetic. Both the above shots were experimental and I hoping in the next day or so to get out and do some more learning from my past experience.
    Last edited by Paul.A; 08-08-2008 at 12:35 AM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: failed to embed photos in first attempt

  6. #6

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    Thanks for sharing!

  7. #7
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    Take a look at this one:

    http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap070508.html

    Beautiful, but digitally enhanced. It does not say whether the original was digital, but I suspect it was. This or better could be done with film. I've seen it!

    PE
    Last edited by Photo Engineer; 08-08-2008 at 01:09 PM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: Add digital caveat as I'm not sure of the original

  8. #8

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    Oh, my God! This is superb!

  9. #9
    Krockmitaine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Photo Engineer View Post
    Take a look at this one:

    http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap070508.html

    Beautiful, but digitally enhanced. It does not say whether the original was digital, but I suspect it was. This or better could be done with film. I've seen it!

    PE
    Hello PE
    I would really love to have a few pointers on how to achieve this technique on film, no star tracks and the night sky filled with the Milky Way visible. I will experiment with the rest
    I saw on a magazine that this couldn't be done on film :rolleyes:

    Marc

  10. #10
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    It can be done on film, but it is difficult. It also takes many exposures and high speed film along with split grade printing, and that is ALL I know about it.

    I have seen pictures similar to this done by Kodak's experts in available light photography. IDK if there are any publications but their names are Don Gorman and Pete Chiesa.

    PE
    Last edited by Photo Engineer; 08-08-2008 at 01:46 PM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: Add semi reference.

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