Spring W I D E

Reverse Arc Star Trail with Meteor

Goodbye winter! Spring is just around the corner, and whether at home or away, it is a wonderful time of the year to exercise wide angle lenses. The Spring Equinox is a magical time of the year marking the first day of Spring where day and night are approximately equal.

Days become longer and lighter, temperatures start to rise and landscapes burst into life. Spring storms pop up delivering magnificent convective pictures in the sky. Wildlife is a buzz with sound as nature families nest, grow and return. Mysterious river waves (bores), large and powerful enough to surf, occur in our rivers. The night sky becomes more varied and accessible and Spring is the best time for witnessing Aurora as Geomagnetic storms peak.

So what is there not to like about this season? It is a perfect time to get busy with wide angle lenses and fill the viewfinder with all the magic of Spring.


Eye on the sky

Olympus OM-D E-M5, 8mm wide angle, 15s (x 2000 images stacked) F3.5, ISO 400

This amazing night sky landscape star trail was taken from the simplicity of a bedroom window! It was captured on a clear Spring night in April from my bedroom window in Leicestershire.

The image contains 8 hours of exposures showing Earth's spin as shown through the stars, spinning around the North Pole star 'Polaris'. By using the 8mm wide angle fisheye lens not only captures a wide night sky landscape but also frames the landscape using the barrelling  of the building lines to create an 'eye' effect.

Here's how I captured this amazing Spring night sky scene:-

Firstly, I chose a bedroom window facing north. Using a simple night sky app can show exactly where Polaris (North star), or the centre of the swirling stars, is located. Open the app on your phone, scroll to a time when you want to start the photo (sunsets approx 7pm so a time after this), point to the sky and rotate until you find Polaris. This will show you exactly where to point the camera at the bedroom window.

I mounted the camera on a clamp attached to my bedroom window balcony rail (You could easily use a tripod) and set up the composition using the 8mm wide angle fisheye lens. It was important to compose part of the house in the frame (to frame the stars). The camera focus was set to manual and using a remote cable (set to lock - which forces the camera to shoot continuous exposures) I let the camera shoot continuously from 8pm in the evening through to 4am the next morning. For power I simply plugged the camera into a wall power socket using the AC power adapter !

Processing the final image can be done in 2 ways. The simple method is to use the Olympus in-camera function called Live Composite (Setting B on top dial). Set the exposure time (15s) and let the camera shoot for a set period (up to 6hrs max). The camera does all the hard work and processes a single final star trail composite image.

For my image, post processing was done manually, due to the overall shooting time (8hrs). I imported the 2000 exposures to my MAC and used stacking software to produce a single composite image.

The resulting image reveals 8 hrs of Earth spinning, as shown through my bedroom window - The eye on the sky! 

Olympus camera/lens mounted on clamp in bedroom window.

Olympus camera/lens mounted on clamp in bedroom window.


Spring stars and meteor - reversed

Olympus OM-D E-M5, 7-14mm, 15s (x 1700 images stacked) F4, ISO 400

This incredible Spring night sky landscape reversing arc star trail (with meteors) was taken from a field in my own garden in Leicestershire on a wonderful clear starry night night in April.

This image contains 7 hours of exposures showing Earth's rotation, focused on the south horizon. Rather than the swirling effect you normally get (pointing towards north star )  focusing south will capture the celestial equator! The resulting effect is star arcs reversing above and below the celestial equator. Spring is also a time of the year to see Meteors. The Lyrids is an April meteor shower and I was fortunate to capture some nice Lyrid meteors with this star trail.

Here's how I captured this amazing Spring night sky scene:-

Firstly I mounted the camera to a fence using a clamp mount and set up the composition using the 7-14mm lens framing the houses, tree and fence line ensuring a good portion of the sky was in the frame. The camera focus was to manual and using the remote cable (set to lock - which forces the camera to shoot continuous exposures, making sure the camera is set to shoot continuous not single exposures) I then let the camera shoot continuously from 9pm in the evening until 4am the next morning. For power I used a remote battery setup - Here's a couple of guides on how to use remote power with your Olympus camera:

1) Olympus EM1 (mk3) power device - Guide

2) Remote Battery setup all cameras - Guide

Processing the final image can be done in 2 ways. The simple method is to use the Olympus in-camera function called Live Composite (Setting B on top dial). Set the exposure time and let the camera shoot for a set period (up to 6hrs max). The camera does all the hard work and processes a single final star trail composite image.

For my image, post processing was done manually, due to the overall shooting time (7hrs). I imported the 1700 exposures to my MAC and used stacking software to produce a single composite image.

The resulting image reveals Spring stars reverse arcing above and below the celestial equator with a few meteors included - Spring stars and meteors - reversed! 

Olympus camera/lens mounted on clamp on fence.

Olympus camera/lens mounted on clamp on fence.

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