Low-No Light Project, Winter 15/16 - markhumpage
Wide Angle Star Spin

Wide Angle Star Spin

5 hours of Earth's spin as shown through the stars. Spinning around the North Pole star 'Polaris' this composite image comprises over 1100 long exposures.

To capture this 'No Light' scene I mounted the camera on a tripod and set up the composition such that the trees were pointing towards the North star Polaris (This ensures the full star-spinning effect). Set the focus to manual and shoot a few test images to ensure subject fits & is level (using LCD screen). Once I was happy with the composition and using the remote cable (set to lock - which forces the camera to shoot continuous exposures) I set the camera off. Make sure you switch off the lcd to maximise battery life. This allowed the camera to shoot continuous for 7 hours (using battery pack). The trees and foreground were lit up using a technique called light painting. During the first few exposures I burst a few flashes and 'painted' with light. This helps bring daylight to a 'No Light' scene. Although the moon was pretty bright and assisted with ambient lighting.

It was a very cold night (-5C) and the camera/8mm lens unfortunately froze after 5 hrs due to dew shield (heater unit) failing - see previous pic of frozen camera. Before taking the camera back indoors I popped the camera into a plastic bag to allow the air temperature inside the bag to reach ambient room temperature without damaging the camera (air inside bag remains dry). Half hour later I transferred all 1100 images (High res JPEG) to MAC and imported in StarStax software. This very useful (& free) software easily produces a single composite image. One thing you will get when shooting these multiple composite images (depending on where the shot is taken) is plane trails running across the image. It can spoil the final composite & I prefer to remove, again using software (Pixelmator).

The resulting image reveals 5 hrs of Earth spinning, as shown through the stars.

CAMERA: Olympus OM-D, E-M5II
LENS: Zuiko Digital ED 8mm
ACCESSORIES: Olympus Remote Control RM-UC1
SETTINGS: Manual, ISO 400, F1.8, 15s. Resolution LN (4608x3456)

TIP: When shooting in cold conditions don't take the camera back indoors immediately (It will fog up and possibly cause moisture to form inside camera electrical workings). Pop the whole camera/lens into a plastic bag outside & then take indoors. Leave for half an hour & then take the camera from bag and download images as normal.

low lightstarsstartrailpolarisnorth starheavensnightskydarktreeCotesbachLutterworthOlympusOMDEM5II