My first star trails with the E-M1, reflections...

Discussion in 'Astrophotography' started by faithblinded, Jul 22, 2015.

  1. faithblinded

    faithblinded Mu-43 Top Veteran

    929
    Nov 25, 2014
    Cleveland, OH
    Ken
    Here in Ohio, it has been a summer of non stop rain. There have been very few nights with clear skies. Last night was finally clear(ish) all night, and not so chilly I couldn't take it(I hate bundling up in summertime, it's supposed to be hot dangit!). I went out to my local national park, and tried my hand at shooting the skies, over water. Sadly, it's too close to Cleveland to be even close to free from light pollution. But it's close, and a lovely place, so why not make the best of it?

    I started out using the 12-40/2.8, but found I wanted wider, and switched to the 4/3 Oly 7-14/4 for the rest of the evening. All shots are at the widest possible aperture, focused manually. I chose an ISO that was low, but kept each exposure under a minute, or less. These sensors just aren't great at super long exposures, from what I've seen.

    12-40@12mm over 30mins live composite of 15 second exposures:
    [​IMG]

    The new live view boost really works. It allows you to frame a shot through a 10 stop ND filter, or on a moonless night. I love this feature! It helped me establish something I thought might resemble pleasant framing(need to plan these shots during the day I think for max effect). I took a few test shots at each location to find a base exposure I liked, then flipped into manual and applied those settings to live composite. Then you just have to let her rip and be patient.

    e-m1 oly 7-14/4, 40 sec exposures, 20+minutes live composite:
    [​IMG]

    Times like this make me mad that my e-m5 is damaged. A second camera and lightweight tripod or gorillapod could be a fun distraction, taking single exposures, light painting, screwing around, while the live composite builds.

    I realized after the last shot that if I shifted position I could get the north star in my frame with the water. This is 20+minutes of 20 second exposures @f4:
    [​IMG]

    I loved that last shot, so I decided I should head down the road to Beaver Marsh and get some cool dead tree silhouettes with the star trails and reflections. I wanted to shoot the north star again and get the pinwheel, but I wanted to do it differently. The side of the boardwalk I needed to face has very little open water right now, due to water plants. I found one nice little patch of open water to shoot, and a composition I liked. There are a couple lights off frame that threw the blue cast on the image. I liked it, and embraced it when processing.
    7mm@f4, 20sec, 20+min live composite:
    [​IMG]

    At this point, fog had been rising off the water for a few hours, and it was forming a film of dew on everything, including the bulbous front element of the 7-14. I wiped it off after the last exposure, and set up for one more before heading home. The opposite side of the boardwalk from the last shot has alot of open water, so I turned around, and got an angle on a tree I always like, reflecting towards me. I set up one last live composite, and let her rip.
    7mm@f4, 25sec, 20+min live composite:
    [​IMG]

    I love live composite! I need to plan some shots while the sun is up, and go out there and see what I can do. I recommend everyone else give it a try too!
     
    • Like Like x 8
  2. maritan

    maritan Mu-43 Veteran

    388
    Oct 30, 2014
    Very nice shots. Were the reflections in the water there out of camera or did you do a little processing magic to them? Either way I like them.

    Also, I agree with you that E-M1 sensor does exhibit more noise than the E-M5/10, but in Live Composite mode, it is very well controlled. I remember doing almost an hour worth of 90 second exposures and not having any real appreciable noise (at a relatively low ISO - 400 probably).
     
  3. faithblinded

    faithblinded Mu-43 Top Veteran

    929
    Nov 25, 2014
    Cleveland, OH
    Ken
    Thanks maritan! No magic involved, the reflections are real. I just wish I was further from the light pollution so there could have been more. The fog slowly rising off the surface didnt help the reflections come through, either. I will admit that in one shot, two hikers moved through the woods with a flashlight, and it showed as a nasty zig zag through the darkness, so i cloned it out.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  4. faithblinded

    faithblinded Mu-43 Top Veteran

    929
    Nov 25, 2014
    Cleveland, OH
    Ken
    I had a brief window last night, and went back to the first location to try again, with a different angle. I like how this angle really gives you a sense of the earth's rotation:
    [​IMG]
     
    • Like Like x 3
  5. maritan

    maritan Mu-43 Veteran

    388
    Oct 30, 2014
    I like it Ken. Those reflections just kill me (in a good way). I love how (apparently) still and mirror like the water is.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  6. faithblinded

    faithblinded Mu-43 Top Veteran

    929
    Nov 25, 2014
    Cleveland, OH
    Ken
    Thanks MAritan. That's why I chose this spot. The water is completely fenced in by forest, so when the wind is calm, it can get very glassy.
    Here is a quick pano I did there on a day with less than ideal lighting:
    [​IMG]
    It's called Indigo Lake, though I've never seen any indication why.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  7. maritan

    maritan Mu-43 Veteran

    388
    Oct 30, 2014
    That's glassy alright. Seems like a beautiful location.