Posts Tagged ‘star trails’

Star Trails Over Lake Traverse, Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario

The Lake Traverse Photographic Workshop wrapped up about a week ago. This late follow-up is the result of being off the grid immediately after the workshop in Ontario`s remote boreal forest in the James Bay Lowlands to scout  a potential workshop offering for 2020. Stay tuned for some incredible photo opportunities from this remote area of the province. I returned a couple of days ago and after getting caught up with submissions and prepping for other upcoming workshops finally have a day or two to breathe.

Photogrpahing the starry night sky at this location is always tons of fun as it is one of the darkest areas within the province. When clear skies prevail there are numerous options for starry night skies and star trails too. Although not visible to us during the creation of the star trail image above, the 45 minute exposure did record faint colours from the aurora borealis.

Petawawa River, Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario

I was quite pleased to receive this unsolicited email from Lake Traverse workshop participant Geoff:

First and foremost I’d like to thank you for the wonderful weekend up at the Observatory in Algonquin Park. It was nice to spend some time with people whom shared common interests. You put things together really well. It was quite a new experience for me with the astro photograghy. It was the perfect spot to observe the night sky as we were so far into the park and beyond a lot of light pollution. And the trip up the satellite dish, way bigger than I ever thought, was a real surprise. 

      And putting that aside for a moment, what a beautiful place to take landscape photos. The lakes and rivers were so plentiful and in actual fact in our short time up there we only sampled a small amount of what Algonquin Park has to offer. It truly is a nature lovers delight. And where ever we went there were no crowds. 

      As for you personally I just wanted to thank you again. I’ve had you teaching me about macro photography in your Frog Photography workshop. I’ve had you teaching me about my camera, lenses and filters. And of course this latest workshop in Algonquin with a new group of people. The nice thing was the fact that it wasn’t so large a group that you couldn’t spend time with each and every photographer. You were still able to help each person with there specific issues. This is the greatest thing about your workshops. I’ve heard about others that were large numbers of students and time with the instructor was scarce. I will look forward to attending another work shop with you again. I may even do the Algonquin trip should you plan on another next year

Algonquin Radio Observatory Laser Light Painting
Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario

New for this year`s workshop was having the ability to paint the massive satellite dish with lasers for an other-worldly effect.

Rusty Old Wreck, Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario

My favourite part of these workshops is visiting the rusty old wreck hidden in the surrounding woodland. The images I created during this year`s workshop I applied a light treatment with Topaz Impression 2 to create an old time feeling.

Stay tuned for the 2019 announcement of the Lake Traverse Photographic Workshop. To be added to the early bird notification list please do shoot me an email by clicking here.

Milky Way, Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario

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Star Trails, Lake Traverse, Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario
Nikon D800, Laowa 12mm f2.8 Zero D Lens
ISO 125
f4 @ 30 minutes

We wrapped up the Lake Traverse program this morning to enable folks plenty of time for their long journeys home. We had a fantastic group of participants and created many superb landscape images. I would also like to extend a very BIG thank-you to Don Johnston for assisting me during the program. Don is a great teacher who’s dedication to helping folks get the most of the experience is greatly appreciated.  In the coming weeks I will share the participant images with you here on the blog. Aside from our regularly planned landscape photography locations we organized two night-scape sessions and were blessed with clear skies on both nights, however the second night was the clearest of all due to the first night having a very light haze in the sky. The northern lights were visible for both nightscape sessions but they were not very pronounced. Tinges of color are present within the star trails image above. After spending a couple of hours creating Milky Way Nightscapes over the Petawawa River and the Algonquin Radio Observatory satellite dish we had three participants that wanted to capture a star trail image. We made our way down to the shore of Lake Traverse, set up our compositions, dialed in the ISO, f-stop, and set the shutter speed to BULB. We then tripped the shutters on our cameras and chatted for a half hour while we created our star trail images. We completed our start trails imagery by approximately 1:00 a.m. on Sunday morning. Just in time to grab a few winks before heading back out for misty sunrises at 6:30 a.m.

I arrived home late this afternoon and immediately unpacked and began packing for my departure tomorrow afternoon to the rainforests of Tarapoto, Peru.

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Milky Way Over Horseshoe lake near Parry Sound, Ontario Nikon D800, Nikon 18-35mm lens @ 18mm ISO 6400, f3.5 at 20 seconds

Milky Way Over Horseshoe lake near Parry Sound, Ontario
Nikon D800, Nikon 18-35mm lens @ 18mm
ISO 6400, f3.5 at 20 seconds


For those who embark on photographing the night sky for the first time are sure to find it addictive. It is a ton of fun to say the least. A few days ago I wanted to try something a little different and rather than create a sharply focused starry night sky, I opted for an image of star trails above Horseshoe Lake. The two photographs that accompany this post are the exact same scene photographed with two different techniques.

After creating some initial starry sky scenes from Ontario’s Algonquin Provincial Park several weeks ago a colleague pointed me in the direction of an eBook by Royce Bair – “Milky Way Nightscapes.” I highly recommend this eBook to anyone interested in photographing the night sky. This 140 page eBook is jam packed with all the info you will need to get started with photographing the night sky and applying the special processing techniques to eliminate any noise generated from using very high ISO numbers.

Essentially the scene above was created to confirm my composition before commencing with the star trail scene below. Do note the different settings used in each of the images to capture the desired effect. While I do enjoy the 30 minute exposure at f4 for the star trails, I am wishing that I had selected a one hour exposure at f5.6 for a longer trail. I tried to do this on the next evening but storm clouds rolled in. When creating these night scapes do be sure to activate the long exposure noise reduction feature and since this feature is creating a second “black” frame to analyze the data and reduce noise, a 30 minute exposure will take an additional 30 minutes for the camera to process. Subsequently, if an one hour exposure is selected an additional one hour will be required by the camera, therefore, it is also important to ensure that you are using freshly charged batteries for long exposure star trail imagery. Shooting a quick frame to confirm the composition will reduce the need to retake the one hour star trail scene…after all you would only be able to create one image every two hours.

Hope you enjoy the starry night imagery.

Which scene do you prefer – star trails or pin-point stars?

Please remember to click on each of the images to view the larger, sharper version.

Star Trails Above Horseshoe Lake near Parry Sound, Ontario Nikon D800, Nikon 18-35mm lens @ 18mm ISO 125, f4 @ 30 minutes

Star Trails Above Horseshoe Lake near Parry Sound, Ontario
Nikon D800, Nikon 18-35mm lens @ 18mm
ISO 125, f4 @ 30 minutes

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