River of stars

Western Australia

I was lucky, during this trip to Western Australia, to have three opportunities to shoot the night sky.  This shot was taken at Smiths Beach bear Yallingup, in the South Western part of the state.  Out shooting the sunset a day earlier I noticed a small river running into the sand and hoped it might reflect the stars later.  By the next evening, the river had nearly dried up, but there was just enough water left to create some reflections.

One of the problems I have encountered shooting starscapes is that you have to bump up the ISO.  This is because any exposure of longer than 30 seconds begins to record the movement of the stars.  Of course, higher ISOs mean more noise.  It’s not so much of an issue in the sky as it’s already speckled with stars, although even there it can start to look messy.  It shows up more in the foreground, especially the sand in this shot.  Here I have applied some noise reduction in ACR, more for the foreground and a little in the sky,  but at the cost of some of the definition in the stars.  It’s a difficult balancing act that will take me a while to master.  I suspect I need to investigate some of the noise reduction plugins.

One more astrophotography post tomorrow, with full details of technique.

20 thoughts on “River of stars

    • I brought out the big gun for this one: Canon EOS 5Diii with 16-35mm f2.8 wide open. You just need to get as much light onto your sensor as you can. Go for your widest lens with the widest possible aperture.

  1. I am very impressed with DxO’s latest suite (my last few posts have photos treated with it). It’s noise reduction algorithm are very good.

    You can download a trial version, but if you want to send me one of the RAW star photos, I can run a test for you.

  2. I can get lost in this one completely ignoring any noise. The stars tend to draw attention away, but I suppose if you print it large, it could start to matter.

  3. Has an almost surreal painted quality to it. Stuff the noise, stuff the earth’s slight movement, this is just a nice photo full stop 🙂 Look forward to your next one being a keen astronomer myself.

  4. Beautiful capture, Rachael. Although things look a bit upside down to me, is that the Pleiades left of center?, and a meteor to it’s left? I love the reflection. Have been experimenting with 10-20 sec exposures with moderate results, camera movement is my major issue, even with a remote shutter release! Thanks for sharing. M

    • Hi. Thanks! I am afraid I can’t comment with any expertise on the constellations. If it helps, this image was taken on 22nd December in Western Australia, looking roughly north. There were meteors in most of my shots on that night, and even more the previous night, but it was too early for the Quadrantids…

  5. A really beautiful photo and thanks again for sharing some of your process into getting the shot. The skies there at night must have been absolutely stunning!

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