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A BOLT OR 2 OF LIGHTNING

The night before any shoot my camera gear gets the once over with a clean damp cloth and a check list of what to bring and not to bring. On this particular night around 7pm the skies over manila lit up with lightning. It was everywhere on the horizon-as if the electrical bolts were saved up for a few nights and were all let loose at the same time.

These frames were captured at around 8:15pm after my camera gear were all clean and squared away for the next day. There was a very slight drizzle outside. The lightning storm had been going on for more than an hour and I’d be sure this time I would get a few frames.

I questionably put my cleaning cloth to the side and proceeded to set up the camera. Knowing quite well that it would get the once over again.

MacDy_Lite_003s

MacDy_Lite_001

SEEING STARS AFTER 40 MINUTES

Going on vacation is a good thing. It gives the daily bump and grind a little break and lets your inner photographer do what it wants.

Doing star trails is an easy task so long as the necessary elements cooperate. And a few of those are controlled by mother nature. A clear night sky without too much light from the moon is as important as having a dslr remote for bulb. What’s a night sky without too much moon light? Well, a simple gauge is total blackness when you look through the dslr’s viewfinder. It would be a great plus without clouds as they reflect the light from the moon.

Mac_star_trails_001FPxComposing, obviously will be difficult. So it’s either do a guesstimate or shoot test shots on bulb setting til you get it right. Opting for the latter an initial 2 minute exposure told me to adjust composition to include framing elements such as the trees.

Turn off AF and IS and manually focus to infinity. Plug in your choice of remote and use a steady tripod with a ball head.

Now that the dslr set up is raring to go make sure a dark colored cloth is handy to cover up the viewfinder so no ambient light will spill onto the sensor. And make sure to time the exposure (duh…).

Shoot in RAW when possible and adjust white balance in post processing. That way the white balance can be set to auto and keeping the settings as simple as possible. All you will have to worry about is the aperture. Start at f/5.6 and adjust accordingly.

This exposure was at 20 minutes (not bad considering this was a first try). The 50D then took another 20 minutes to process the exposure as the long exposure noise reduction was turned on. The camera produces a black background to counter the noise in that extra time. In total this single exposure lasted 40 minutes.

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