“Try to learn from the mistakes of others – you don’t have enough time to make them all yourself.” (paraphrasing Sam Levenson)
During my vacation in Hawaii I made many mistakes in attempting star trails that I will share with you in the hope that you can avoid them. I suppose it is good training for me so that the Star Circle Academy Workshop in Alabama Hills this November will give me the opportunity to expound on how to attempt star trails successfully. Here is a short list of my faux pas all committed when I attempted to have my camera rig run unattended overnight:
- Failure to set the camera in the proper mode (Manual). I left the dial on AV (aperture priority) so instead of taking a series of 15 minute exposures it actually took an auto bracketed exposure every 15 minutes… and of course the exposure information was not suitable for use!
- Bumping the mode dial to “A-Dep” from C1. In the course of protecting and camoflaging my camera I piled rocks around/above it. One of those bumped the mode dial and caused a failure just like the one above.
- Pressing the “set” rather than “start” button on the intervalometer and walking away. Yep. It sat there all night but never got around to taking images.
- Failing to empty or reformat the memory card… so instead of hours of exposures I got a few minutes. (This happened before I left on vacation).
- Neglecting to turn off Auto Focus.
- Failing to start as soon or run as long as I could have.
- Choosing a location that gets a heavy dose of bright headlights from cars.
Here is a sequence that wasn’t a failure – but it does not count because I was standing, sitting or reclining next to the camera the entire time.
Attempting to capture meteors necessitates a different tactic than capturing star trails. More on that in my next entry!