As I mentioned in a recent post, just over a month ago I went camping in Joshua Tree National Park with my friend and photographer Lennis Wayne. Shooting images for a star trail was on my mental “shot list” and we were fortunate enough to have 2 nights with clear skies. The park is all desert, although what’s interesting to me is that there are 2 different desert climates in the park; the Colorado and the Mojave deserts. The Colorado desert is part of the larger Sonoran desert that spans the Southwest U.S.. At below 3,000 feet in elevation, the Colorado desert covers the eastern portion of the park. The Mojave desert is higher, cooler and home to the famous Joshua Tree. The Mojave makes up the western portion of the park and contains large forests of Joshua trees. This part of the park also has unique boulder formations that look like they came from another planet.
Now, on to the details of shooting my star trail. I have not shot many star trails that I have loved so far, but that’s mainly because I didn’t have the best location or foreground element. Well, I have to say that the Joshua tree made a great foreground for my star trail. The first image is the finished star trail. Camera info: Canon 7D with Canon 10-22 lens at 10mm, f3.5, iso 800, 2 min exposure per shot. I shot for almost 2 hours and ended up with about 50 usable images. Images were loaded into Photoshop as layers and then the blend mode changed to lighten. I also had to remove some plane trails, I didn’t know so many planes fly over the park! I will share a short video tutorial on how I removed the plane trails in a future post.
One of my frames captured a shooting star, I thought that was pretty cool. Have a great week!