Comparison of Length of Star Trails

Overview

The length of time you take Time-Lapse star trails obviously have an effect on the length of your star trails. But the biggest question usually is: how much impact does it really have. This article will show you how much of an impact time has on Time-Lapse Star trails. Hopefully this will guide you onto how long you can take the photo to get your desired effect. The biggest challenge for this article is if you stay awake during the whole process then you are a better man than me J (I fell asleep during the taking of this photo sequence)

For technique for how to take time-lapse star trails please refer to the following guide: http://skyclik.blogspot.co.za/2016/02/how-to-do-time-lapse-star-trails.html

 Amount of photos
The following table shows you how many thirty seconds photos were taken during a certain timeframe, there are 55 photos of 30 second duration in half an hour.
Time
NR 30 Seconds Photos
1/2 Hour
55
1 Hour
110
1 1/2 Hour
165
2 Hour
220
2 1/2 Hour
275
3 Hours
330
3 1/2 Hour
385
4 Hours
440

½ Hour

During the first hour 55 photos were taken which were then stacked using Star Stax. The star trails are quite short and does not look like a “real” star trail photo yet.
Setting
Value
Exposure Time
30 seconds
Aperture
f/14
ISO
6400
Exposure Bias
0-step
Lenses
28mm
Camera
Canon
Model
5D Mark ii

1 Hour

During the first hour 110 photos were taken which were then stacked using Star Stax. The star trails are still short but are looking more like a star trail photo.
Setting
Value
Exposure Time
30 seconds
Aperture
f/14
ISO
6400
Exposure Bias
0-step
Lenses
28mm
Camera
Canon
Model
5D Mark ii

1 ½ Hours

During the first hour and a half 165 photos were taken which were then stacked using Star Stax. The star trails are now coming nicely along.
Setting
Value
Exposure Time
30 seconds
Aperture
f/14
ISO
6400
Exposure Bias
0-step
Lenses
28mm
Camera
Canon
Model
5D Mark ii

2 Hours

During the first two hours 220 photos were taken which were then stacked using Star Stax. This is the time-period which I usually like to take star trails, as this usually give a nice blend of star trails and your foreground image.
Setting
Value
Exposure Time
30 seconds
Aperture
f/14
ISO
6400
Exposure Bias
0-step
Lenses
28mm
Camera
Canon
Model
5D Mark ii

 

2 ½ Hours

During the first two hours and half 275 photos were taken which were then stacked using Star Stax. The star trails are now becoming longer and are starting to fill the sky.
Setting
Value
Exposure Time
30 seconds
Aperture
f/14
ISO
6400
Exposure Bias
0-step
Lenses
28mm
Camera
Canon
Model
5D Mark ii

3 Hours

During the first three hours 330 photos were taken which were then stacked using Star Stax. The star trails are becoming very long and start to look like stripes in the sky.
Setting
Value
Exposure Time
30 seconds
Aperture
f/14
ISO
6400
Exposure Bias
0-step
Lenses
28mm
Camera
Canon
Model
5D Mark ii

 

3 ½ Hours

During the first three and a half hours 385 photos were taken which were then stacked using Star Stax. At this point I do not know what to say, except WOW, nice effect:
Setting
Value
Exposure Time
30 seconds
Aperture
f/14
ISO
6400
Exposure Bias
0-step
Lenses
28mm
Camera
Canon
Model
5D Mark ii

4 Hours

During the first four hours 440 photos were taken which were then stacked using Star Stax.
At this point my battery conked out, but as you can see in the diagram it shows the principle of time and star trails quite well. These star trails are now looking nice and long.

Setting
Value
Exposure Time
30 seconds
Aperture
f/14
ISO
6400
Exposure Bias
0-step
Lenses
28mm
Camera
Canon
Model
5D Mark ii

 

Gradient View

The following image shows an overlap of the gradients with markers showing the 15 degrees lengths of the star trails overlapped with time:

Conclusion

It is my suggestion that the longer you can photograph Time-Lapse star trails, the better it is. As stated before it is usually boredom and the fight to stay awake which have an impact on the length of time which you can take the photos. Thus I would recommend that you take good company with you, plus a second camera to play around with different sceneries and different types of photographs.
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