An example of using a panorama technique at night at Red Rock Canyon State Park, California. Coming soon a lot more information about night panoramas!
I created a Vertorama (vertical panorama) of the very last few shots before twilight began to overwhelm the stars. This is 3 separate images with about 4/5 overlap between each, but only the top image contains the star trail. You can see almost 3 hours worth of star trail taken here in this image.
I like the Vertorama technique here because it allows me to get the sky and the foreground in better context.
People often assume that the foreground was shot during the daylight, in fact the shortest exposure was 30 seconds and that was still at ISO 500! The very nearest components (the rocks and scrub) were taken during nautical twilight.
There was a tiny bit of moon (slender crescent) as well.
A recent example using this technique is here. It’s not a compelling image, but it shows the pieces required to put it together:
Microsoft ICE would not merge the star trail with the two foreground shots (by the way, the foreground shots are in fact HDR images blended first with Photomatix Light). I understand why it had a problem given the significant color differences between the twilight foreground and the night “light glow”.
Photoshop (CS5) Photomerge, however was able to blend the images successfully. I then did a variety of correction – first “Lens Correction” to fix some of the barrel distortion. The upper wall was still curved so I used puppet warp. I threw in a few more fixes, too: I desaturated and cloned out an orange safety fence. Did some healing brush touch ups on the result of the Puppet warp, Cloned out the flare and bumped up the vibrance on everything but the sky.
By the way the big “spot” on the image is flare from a nearby streetlight, not the moon.