Trailhead to the Stars

Copyright ©2016 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Last night I met Gordon, and some other friends in a Meet-Up group we’re in up on Mt. Tamilpias in Marin County to photograph the sunset, and then image the night sky.

There was an Astrology lecture in the Amphitheater so the park was open much later than it normally is which allowed us to stay late. YEAH! Normally the park closes a bit after sunset.

This is 74 frames stacked in PS CC 2015.5.

My settings were f2.2| 30seconds ea.| ISO 320| Manual Priority| Tripod|

Star Trails

4 planes, and one shooting star flew through the sky while I was imaging. I didn’t see the shooting star at the time as I was looking away helping a friend with her settings and intervalometer. I was thrilled to see I caught it on film though.

It was a lovely night, not windy, or cold, and the company was great!

Nikon Df| Nikkor 20mm f/1.8G| Delkin Digital Film

More to come…


38 thoughts on “Trailhead to the Stars

    1. Oh my, thank you so much John!

      I had the good fortune of being in the same Meet-Up group with Steven Christenson who taught me how to shoot star trails back in the Fall of 2009. I’ve been hooked on this type of photography since!

      Steven does webinars now through his StarCircleAcademy business. You can find him at the link if you’re interested:

      You certainly are out in the dark skies enough to make some fantastic images!

    1. Thank you so, so much Cheryl! I’m thrilled that you love it! I haven’t been able to get out much this year to photograph the night sky, and I’ve missed it! It was so good to be out under the stars with good friends.

    1. Thank you so much Cobus! It’s nice to hear from you! Spring I hope is showing signs of arriving there. Summer seems like it’s in a hurry to leave this year as Fall is coming on strong! 🙂

      Hope all is well with you and yours!

  1. Sounds like a fun night! And you have a very cool photo to remember it by. I liked your explanation to Joanne’s question. A one hour night photo is so different from the quick day photos I always take. Does PS stand for Photoshop? And are the straight streaks on the left side of the photo airplanes. Thanks for sharing your neat experience. 🙂

    1. Thank you so much Myriam! Yes, PS is the abbreviation for Photoshop. I get to lazy to type it out.
      Yes, the diagonal like red streaks on the left side are the airplanes flying through the airspace I was photographing. Were you able to spot the Shooting Star? I’m addicted to night imaging.
      There’s a sale on at my favorite Lab so I’m going to print this one. 🙂

  2. These stacked photos are always so interesting! What was the time period over which these photos were shot?

    This question might sound like of dumb, but I’m assuming the centre of the star swirl is the point where your camera was focused?

    1. Thank you Joanne! No not dumb! I shot this sequence for just under an hour.

      Yes, my focus point was Polaris the North Star.
      As Earth spins on its axis the two celestial poles North and South remain fixed, all other points/stars rotate around them completing one circuit per day.
      If you photograph a series of star images facing East, West, or South here in North America you get angled streaks like meteors.
      That’s a simple explanation. Hope it helps you understand how I made it a bit more.

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