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10-02-2013, 07:52 PM   #1
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Star Trails, ME Super, What Do I Need?

I thought I would try my hand at star-trails with my Pentax ME Super. I usually do this my Nikon D5100, so I'm looking for accessories such as an IR remote and an intervalomter, or things that come close to those. If need be, I'll just buy a release cable and do everything manually. You guys got any suggestions? I'm hoping for things under $100...

Also, what are some things I should look out for when using film? Any tips?

Thanks in advance!

10-02-2013, 08:22 PM   #2
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Not sure what you have in mind with the intervalometer. You can do really long exposures with film. How long of an exposure are you looking to do?
10-02-2013, 11:06 PM   #3
Ole
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A cheap cable release that can be locked and a flashlight so that you can check the exposure time on your watch should do!

15 minutes exposure time at F2.8 or F4 with an ISO 200 film would be a good starting point.
10-07-2013, 11:26 PM   #4
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Don't forget to account for reciprocity failure. Some films have the reciprocity failure info posted on the web. Others don't, so they're a bit harder to find. Also with reciprocity failure, you may need to compensate the development time by up to 20%, depending on the film and exposure time, to achieve a correct tonal balance.

When I go out for star trails, I go for the whole night and bracket like heck. On my last trip I had exposures from 15 minutes up to four hours with films from 100 to 400 ISO. I found that when pointing my cameras over SF (not at it) that 15 minutes was fine. However, when pointing at open sky the longer, multi-hour exposures worked. I also tend to stop down a bit (usually f5.6) to get a little better line sharpness. Here are some examples and explanations


Pentax KX, Samyang 18-28. I used a graduated ND filter on this, hence the serious vignetting. I think this was around 45 minutes or an hour with Foma 100 film. The ND4 filter was oriented so the dense part was over Oakland. The clouds rolled in for about the last 10 or 20 minutes of the exposure.


Same camera, lens, and film. This was around 15 minutes with no filter, I believe. I tend to like more foreground detail in my star trails, though I admit I like this shot a bit.


Nikon F3, Nikkor-S 50mm 1:1.4, wide open. Compared to the Samyang shots, which would have been f5.6 or maybe even f8 or 11 on the first one due to the city lights, this was wide open for 15 minutes, I think. So this had the foreground detail I had hoped for. But, the foreground is also a bit soft for my taste.


Here is one that was a good deal longer and would have been stopped down to f4 or f5.6. I like the longer trails and also the sharper foreground detail in this shot. But I am not thrilled about the stupid stinking plane.


This was the shortest shot I did with the F3 and was less than 10 minutes. I forget what I stopped the lens down to, but may well have kept it at the previous setting.


Here's one I did later on the roll of planes landing at SFO. So star trails are cool, but they aren't the only trails you can do.

With your ME Super, be sure to have either a black cap for the eyepiece (fits into the accessory grooves, costs like $3 on eBay) or someething else to cover the eyepiece. A glasses rag, folded and taped or rubber banded over the eyepiece works. This will prevent errant light from entering the eyepiece, passing the mirror, and fogging your film. This way you can still use a flashlight, camp light, or even have a small fire (if you're at a campsite, for instance) while taking the photo. The low light levels from that may even help illuminate any foreground objects you have.

10-07-2013, 11:26 PM   #5
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Don't forget to account for reciprocity failure. Some films have the reciprocity failure info posted on the web. Others don't, so they're a bit harder to find. Also with reciprocity failure, you may need to compensate the development time by up to 20%, depending on the film and exposure time, to achieve a correct tonal balance.

When I go out for star trails, I go for the whole night and bracket like heck. On my last trip I had exposures from 15 minutes up to four hours with films from 100 to 400 ISO. I found that when pointing my cameras over SF (not at it) that 15 minutes was fine. However, when pointing at open sky the longer, multi-hour exposures worked. I also tend to stop down a bit (usually f5.6) to get a little better line sharpness. Here are some examples and explanations


Pentax KX, Samyang 18-28. I used a graduated ND filter on this, hence the serious vignetting. I think this was around 45 minutes or an hour with Foma 100 film. The ND4 filter was oriented so the dense part was over Oakland. The clouds rolled in for about the last 10 or 20 minutes of the exposure.


Same camera, lens, and film. This was around 15 minutes with no filter, I believe. I tend to like more foreground detail in my star trails, though I admit I like this shot a bit.


Nikon F3, Nikkor-S 50mm 1:1.4, wide open. Compared to the Samyang shots, which would have been f5.6 or maybe even f8 or 11 on the first one due to the city lights, this was wide open for 15 minutes, I think. So this had the foreground detail I had hoped for. But, the foreground is also a bit soft for my taste.


Here is one that was a good deal longer and would have been stopped down to f4 or f5.6. I like the longer trails and also the sharper foreground detail in this shot. But I am not thrilled about the stupid stinking plane.


This was the shortest shot I did with the F3 and was less than 10 minutes. I forget what I stopped the lens down to, but may well have kept it at the previous setting.


Here's one I did later on the roll of planes landing at SFO. So star trails are cool, but they aren't the only trails you can do.

With your ME Super, be sure to have either a black cap for the eyepiece (fits into the accessory grooves, costs like $3 on eBay) or someething else to cover the eyepiece. A glasses rag, folded and taped or rubber banded over the eyepiece works. This will prevent errant light from entering the eyepiece, passing the mirror, and fogging your film. This way you can still use a flashlight, camp light, or even have a small fire (if you're at a campsite, for instance) while taking the photo. The low light levels from that may even help illuminate any foreground objects you have.
10-08-2013, 02:21 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by K David Quote
Don't forget to account for reciprocity failure. Some films have the reciprocity failure info posted on the web.
Shoot 100 Acros and never have to worry about reciprocity failure again. And some of the new tabular grain films you can pretty much ignore reciprocity if you are shooting a dark sky and are going to silhouette objects. Perhaps it comes into play more so if you are trying to capture detail in an object in the foreground.



100 Acros, 15 min exposure, f8




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