Astro-Photography Workshop, September 3, 2008

Led by Bill Riedhart

We got lucky!!! An evening in the desert with no wind! The temperature was near perfect, the sky full of color, and we watched the crescent moon sink below the horizon. The evening could not have been more perfect for hanging around and taking long time exposed shots of star trails.

Over thirty LPA members and guests (including two new ones who joined this evening) met at the group campground at Saddleback Butte State Park.

Bill Riedhart handed out a well prepared Guide full of photo tips for photographing star trails, and the night sky, and included a step-by-step procedure for setting up your camera to capture photos of star trails.

In addition to a photography lesson, we were all got a quick refresher on Astronomy… how to find the North Star, and a reminder that the stars do not move, but that the earth rotates.

Things I learned on this trip that Bill did mention, but weren’t in the handout… know how to get to the BULB setting on your camera, and… while learning how to photograph star trails, make sure the Noise Reduction feature on your camera is turned OFF. It took me three tries (over 30 minutes of photographing) to figure out why my camera was locked up on Busy after taking 10 minute timed exposure shots.

When shooting with Noise Reduction ON, it takes just as long to process the picture in camera, as it does to take the picture.

Practice shots of 10 minutes take 10 more minutes to process. Photographing 30 minutes worth of star trails will take 30 minutes to process in your camera.

We not only learned how to use our cameras in full manual mode and the ins and outs of shooting star trails, but it was a really enjoyable evening and a great time to socialize.

If you have a desire to photograph sunsets, Joshua Trees, and star trails, I highly recommend you visit Saddleback Buttes State Park.

Thanks, Bill, for putting together such a terrific workshop

 

Article by Sue Craft
Pictures by Arley Clark unless otherwise noted

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The Lancaster Photography Association
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