Heading your way

The shot:
A colourful sphere of light squeezed into an old folly. Polaris is aligned above, to create a neat circle of startrails through the sky.

A sphere of light beneath a spiral of startrails

Combined lightcraft and startrails

The story:
This folly’s a favourite location amongst my local contemporaries but I’d only ever driven past without stopping. Thinking it’d be perfect for a V24 orb (as the colourful sphere in the centre is unimaginatively named) I plodded up there one clear night. Turns out it’s not that big and I had to make a few technique adjustments before the lightpainting would fit within the structure. Noticing how much orange was hitting the folly from nearby streetlamps, I added some turquoise light of my own from the opposite side to even things out. A short startrail then followed to complete the circular theme.

The tip:
It’s become common to use the stacking technique to capture startrails (technique info to follow in a future post), allowing you to set a wide aperture or high ISO to gather lots of starlight. Most battery-powered lights are too bright for those settings, so shoot your lightpainting with a narrower aperture or lower ISO. All files can be included in the stacking process- just take care not to knock your tripod so the frames remain aligned.

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