This photo may need some explanation.
I was camped by the Finke River to the west of Alice Springs, in Central Australia. The middle of winter in this area can be very cold, so I was assured of a clear sky.
The process is as follows:
Camera Nikon FM2, totally manual.
Lens Sigma 24mm.
Fuji print film.
Camera on a very sturdy tripod, a Benbo Trekker, weighted with rocks as wind can be a problem.
Lens aperture f8
I sat in the car with my foot on the brake pedal for several minutes.
Flashed the tree on the right and the shrubs to the left.
Went to bed, hoping no stray animal would visit in the night.
Woke up well before sunrise, closed the shutter.
The camera was covered in dew in the morning, but it is a tough old workhouse, and still works well today.
8 hour exposure.
Luckily for me I guessed where south was, and the result was this circular star trail.
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Critiques | Translate
Piotr (0) 2004-12-12 16:56
Original! congratulations Kevin, very special result, Regards, piotr
chappy77 (306) 2004-12-12 17:19
Amazing photo! Something I really need to try (need a tripod first). Like how you used your truck to give some light to the foreground.
fmg (4) 2004-12-12 17:21
Now I understand some dizziness when I sleep too much...
DiaAzul (1403) 2004-12-12 17:33
Excellent picture - and great note to go with it.
It is possible to see the effect of the wind in the trees. I was wondering whether a more static subject (rocks/hills) would give a crisper silhouette, and whether this might perhaps make a stronger picture - just a thought.
djnik2004 (1698) 2004-12-12 17:37
Lovely results! im so impressed with this exposure, how did you manage for this shot not to be over exposed, i would love to know your methods!! thanks, great shot!
MiguelP (14470) 2004-12-12 17:42
The outcome of the big effort you´ve described us in the note is splendid. Thanks for the explanations given and for the sky showed.
verge (1242) 2004-12-12 17:48
Excellent Photo!, w/o the explanation this might fall on a over processing violation hehe
this is really nice, I reaqlly like the circular effect very original shot...rgds
jrwla1 (19) 2004-12-12 17:49
dude, very creative and it looks like it was some hard work to pull off. i was inspired by the circular motion of the sky. thanks for sharing.
Leszek (262) 2004-12-12 17:50
Beautiful shoot. It required lots of work. Thank you for your note
t_wullems (292) 2004-12-12 18:45
Awesome dude! Creative energy to do this, very imaginable and inspring. Thanks for posting.
vapours (8264) 2004-12-12 19:28
Thats just amazing, the effect is something I havent seen before. Great work.
maphoto (8082) 2004-12-12 19:57
Very original, great effect and excellent note, very unique, thanks for sharing this amazing result, well done.
coucie (216) 2004-12-12 21:09
tres réussi!! belle image qui ne manque pas d'originalité! Bravo!!
robiuk (10807) 2004-12-12 22:14
Not for an astonishing photo, but for showing young TE members what can be done with a little imagination, good will and exploring your camera's possibilities!
Thank you for your efforts in making this capture, Kevin!
jpages (1670) 2004-12-12 22:27
I allways have dream in to do a photo like this. 8 hours... spectacular! Good Job. Thanks for posting it.
Thanks for the note. Maybe one day I try it!
kivar (136) 2004-12-12 23:10
awesome exposure!!! you were not afraid to let your camera there 8 hours? these stars curving around the polar star are really great!
alainh (35587) 2004-12-13 1:26
great job you make hear.
the result is good and beautiful.
congrats for this one.
bncooper (208) 2004-12-13 2:05
Dionysos (1234) 2004-12-13 3:33
I'm shocked. Very,very creative shot. I have never thought that exact circular movement of the stars.Really thanks for your effort.
clodreno (0) 2004-12-13 4:11
A very nice image Kevin..
Thanks for the explanations.. Lucky you nobody stole your camera, I guess it's a real safe place!!
I tried to figure it out before reding your "recipe"... I suppose it must be a record on TE the 8 hours exposure...!
HOBO (5282) 2004-12-13 6:24
Simply great, Kevin! Congradulations for the ideas to flash and to set the car lights on!
Karthik (306) 2004-12-18 0:48
wow Kevin, this is an excellent experiment.
I was wondering how that circular effect would come up, well you note explains it all!
avigur_11 (22087) 2004-12-18 14:49
What an amazing effect, and a very original technique. very well done, Kevin.
edji (1368) 2004-12-18 23:14
Very very good idea... I like it a lot.
What was the ISO of your film?
borax (1732) 2004-12-18 23:23
sohrab (7439) 2004-12-19 0:21
this is experimentation at its best..
you forgot to mention one thing though.. what iso was the film??? :) 100??
i know you've been to india.. but i wonder if you've tried somthing like this in ladakh.. that is if you've been to ladakh...
especially in leh..
because at night you have millions of stars out in the sky.. there's more silver than black in the inght sky.. and the winds are quite calm too.. (compared to other areas.. where there are more stars.. but the winds strong enough to almost blow the tin roof off a shed)
i also see some more red in the bottom left corner.. was there someone else doign the same???
p.s. ok i just woke up a little while back.. so my brain hasn't started functioning yet:) why did you mention the south????
Michael_Gan (2776) 2004-12-20 14:40
Incredible picture, it looks like a magical gate to another dimenion! That effect would have been great already, but I admire your creative brains to think about adding some gadgets by using the flash on the vegetation and the breaklights of the car. Absolutely great, a favourite!
jude (78) 2004-12-21 16:15
Amazing shot Kevin these circular tracks ! the result is really Lovely !!
and of course the lot of work behind shows how much photography is a passion for you !
thanx for sharing
kaud (1840) 2004-12-24 3:21
It's just great.
What an experiment Buddy?
Yet it resulted very well.
aznegrao (10316) 2004-12-27 11:51
Perfeito efeito obtido com a longa exposição. A adição dos elementos tornou a imagem mais forte. Excelente Kevin.
Happy new year.
tellerka (180) 2004-12-30 9:47
It's unbelievable... First it looks like back side of jar ;) I think it wasn't first trial - You knows to add some lights to dark fields... It's the best night shot I've ever seen.... Thanks for sharing :)
cloverstar (0) 2004-12-30 23:50
Your inginuity is amazing. Brilliant photo with a wonderful sight. My congratulations on such good work.
bebel (7588) 2004-12-31 20:36
Parfait Kevin, la note explicative est idéale. Je connaissais cela car j'ai suivi quelques cours d'astronomie. C'est assez difficile à réaliser car il faut être patient et le résultat est passionnant et très curieux. Bravo, c'est très réussi !
Praetzer (2375) 2005-01-06 22:52
superb technique. superb result
sound (242) 2005-01-08 3:03
Excelent idea brought to excelent result. I never can gess what it is.
tonikrou (463) 2005-01-11 11:06
very good u r great i love that picture and the way u make it.. sorry for my english
jiekuan (332) 2005-01-12 1:28
8 hr expousure ! Great experiment! You success!
Quite creative experiment. I like you way!
The surrounding must be very dark, i believe.
Janice (4403) 2005-01-12 17:20
Kevin, absolutely amazing shot. Well done...
PixelTerror (0) 2005-01-13 3:41
Hi Kevin, I came onto that one and like former visitors, I must say "Wow, what a result !". It reminds me of the movie "Stargate". Reading your explanations I undestand better now how it was taken, I believe leaving the shutter locked open is only possible on a limited number of cameras.
Great Photo !
kim_gwan (418) 2005-01-14 11:56
Hi Kevin, this pic is Bloody good.
Exposure for 8 hours!! My camera can't do that!
fireflyz (2097) 2005-01-16 22:59
Wow! Now that's passion for photography! You've done great my friend. I showed this picture to my co-workers and their jaws droped like mine. TFS..
rage_tm (623) 2005-01-23 18:47
Hi Kevin, this is really worth the effort. Luck for you nobody stole your camera and woke up before the sub breaks, or else everything be overexposed. Congratulations! This is neat job!! Well Captured!!
Speedie (118) 2005-02-11 20:28
Vraiment, je trouve cette photo tellement impressionnante! Je crois que tout a été dit! Félicitation!
marcb (589) 2005-02-20 15:16
Excellent Kevin!! That's a great way to determine were the Polar star is (and the North)... not the easy one but the most original, for sure... :-)
That's definitively a great job. Thanks for sharing! Best regards,
johnhopkins (866) 2005-03-06 22:01
Great photograph Kevin. The exposure of the items you lit up in the foreground really came out well. The star trails are perfect.
azadys (717) 2005-05-02 0:20
Great Shot. this shot look like one of my friends's picture.
zorro (530) 2005-05-08 4:51
good position of tripod and camera...very good capture it's look like a radar from the sky.bravo!
USErin (189) 2005-06-01 15:26
This photo deserves so much praise. It is truly amazing.
skeelerik (763) 2005-06-01 15:31
Wow, what an original idea and that it came out this way. Congratz! CU, Erik
jackpkn (863) 2005-06-01 15:34
You had a good ideia and got a suberb shot!!!
jwright (260) 2005-06-01 15:51
I have always wanted to try this. Excellent exposure and composition.
cessy (13647) 2005-09-26 5:10
this is simply fantastic
stunning picture of the star trail
could not have done it with digital cam
the adding flash on the tree, and the braking the car also excellent idea
very well done
Graal (101730) 2005-09-26 5:15
Amazing and unusual photo. I like it very much.
sergio1 (12152) 2005-09-26 5:16
Muy pero que muy original, excelente toma.
Saludos y enhorabuena.
tobourge (971) 2005-09-26 5:30
Great idea! I really like the contrast with the car and bushes. Great Shot!
ton (82) 2005-09-26 6:20
Hi Kevin, very artistic shot! impressive picture. thanks to your note it helps me understand how to do it.
amihay_s (722) 2005-10-01 19:05
One of the best night shot i ever seen.
recepyuksel (17808) 2005-10-13 12:07
Soylenecek soz yok...
pawelen (92) 2005-10-24 6:15
Wow! It's great. cheers!
peck (2779) 2005-11-24 10:45
Yeah! I like it! The photo is great!!
Facsi (212) 2005-12-06 18:09
I haven't seem same like this before, and didn't understand the note at first read... Original idea, fantastic result.
Thanks for sharing, bye!
AandK (1832) 2006-01-22 18:02
I'm not that smart... I missed the northern star as a dot right in the middle of the circles and then I realised your homecountry:)
Sorry for that! How did you know that the result wouldn't be a totally white picture?
Very impressive result. Looks like the earths spinning is pretty balanced.
Thanks for the effort...
LilyP (52) 2006-02-14 3:35
Awesome!!! Thanks for the how-to, I've always wondered just how to get that effect.
alego (277) 2006-03-02 16:03
Great photograph. Stunning star streak effect. I wonder if any of high end digital camers would survive this ultimate test of 8 hour exposure during the night in cold weather. Well done,
Focaccino (305) 2006-03-11 12:45
Excellent, was wanting to try something similar when I was in Oz, but never got the opportunity... thanks for the tips and I'll try it sometime. Real nice shot, thanks for sharing!
postvikram (1199) 2006-03-15 1:31
Kevin, Amazing work indeed.Magnificent POV the south pole!.. Im still gaping wide..
You have done a wonderful job working with the brake pedal and flashes on the trees.A simple star trail itself looks marvellous , but here along with the extra details this is a commendable achievement.
I dunno how long a battery operated shutter can hold in bulb exposure.. well it sure will drain the cells but I doubt this can be reproduced very easliy.. A circular trail..
Still gaping.. Thanks for sharing - Vikram
shal (944) 2006-03-16 23:29
the longest expo ive seen here on TE,
wonderful results and gr8 efforts man,
thnx for the note :)
nivas37 (662) 2006-03-19 8:12
Brilliant effort and idea. This one is definately going as a hot favorite.
Thanks for sharing.
Rgds / Nivas
sarju (5324) 2006-03-21 19:22
This one is excellent and it is going straight to my favs ... thanks for sharing mate
cheers ... sarju
PSkillz (1327) 2006-04-05 10:17
Wow mate Congratulations
one of the best pictures i saw here till now...
all the best patrick
Hoos (134) 2006-04-13 15:20
Wow, great idea!! the very long exposure makes a nice effect!! congratulations! you really make an exc photo! very patient too!!
Thanks for share!
haraldpr (16) 2006-04-13 15:23
I am speechless...
rajhema (1873) 2006-04-13 15:26
Worth all the effort. You risked your camera for this.
schobi (187) 2006-04-13 15:35
WOW! A fantastic work - I like it very much! Very good note!
Best regards from Austria
osh (402) 2006-04-27 4:12
wow! great experiment and fantastic result! the circle of stars leaves me speechless. really really well done!
abulafia (4900) 2006-04-27 4:54
This is truly amazing, what an excellent idea.
nels (2621) 2006-04-27 5:58
hi kevin amazing idea and results
8 hours that must be the ultimate in long exposure time hope to se more of your "experiments"
Nikki_DP (0) 2006-05-29 6:13
wow kevin...really cool and original photo! as well as bizarre..hehehe..
marcocig (781) 2006-05-29 6:18
Wow, great experiment Kevin!!!
You've been very very precise in finding the south..it's a real "Giotto" circle.
I love thiskind of technical shots.
teutza (10590) 2006-05-29 6:27
waw1this so intersting!!!!!thanks a lot 4 sharing!!!!
ajinder (37) 2006-05-29 6:50
the longest expo ive seen here on TE,
wonderful results. Thanx for ur note.
zeca (19762) 2006-06-20 18:52
Un-be-lieveble! Wonderful work, Kevin! Congratulations!!!
elan2004 (437) 2006-08-05 3:53
Hi Kevin, truly awesome photo. You went to great effort and great imagination to get this shot, with thrilling results.
Great explanation on how you achieved this, which will be an inspiration to other photographers including me.
I will be adding to my favourites list.
Thanks for sharing with us,
soumik1976 (185) 2006-08-05 4:07
This is an awesome take. This wouldn't have been possible in a digital camera. I still don't believe you planned it from the outset. Something must have happened before which led to this idea! Congratulations again.
izacalbo (0) 2006-09-02 20:10
Simplesmente não há muito o que dizer. O efeito é uma coisa de outro mundo. É o tipo de imagem que a pessoa não esquece nunca mais. Um trabalho forever. Parabéns Kevin. Uma coisa de louco de tão bela que está!!!
fryz (1735) 2006-10-23 16:07
superbe et encore Bravo pour ces 8heures d'exposition ;)
record à battre: 700 minutes!
sevman13 (553) 2007-01-10 3:00
Congratulations for your idea and exposure.
very educative explanation and trial of yours for the TE members, especially for the new ones. I can also recommend the same technique for the "moon", like a half circle, but for a shorter exposure or with more closed diaphram.
lcelvenes (0) 2007-01-10 3:07
Absolutely awesome, Kevin. I love the creativity, and the fact that photo is a natural. Great work :) Don´t really know what else to say.
rafid76 (0) 2007-01-10 3:11
there isnt much i can say about this!! its perfect. i have a canon ae-1 and am trying to do the same. have to wait untill the film is finished before i can see the results. very orginall and perfect exposure. the aperture setting can be very tricky in those situation but it wasnt here.
LEA (4984) 2007-01-10 4:03
jsec (2154) 2007-01-31 15:23
Well managed work. The result was worth the wait. Superb.
Gierlinski (948) 2007-02-10 10:47
That is an original piece of work, well done. 8-hour exposure, I'm impresed.
konok (2068) 2007-03-04 14:22
hoorge (1434) 2007-03-04 14:34
Unbelievable! Fantastic shot, well done. Great techniques used producing wonderful results.
Victor (254) 2007-03-04 15:07
Take care :-)
eyesthetix (641) 2007-06-16 6:58
8hrs! Just what can I say !!
You have done VERY well.
Great effort and fantastic note!
Well done and best regards,
Talia (242) 2007-06-27 1:03
so that's what happens when we sleep....great explanation, cool idea!
pieczorin (154) 2007-07-18 11:44
It looks as an interdimension doorway, as in the movie "The Star Gate"! Well done Kevin, well done!
fayeulle (27827) 2007-07-18 12:04
Direct in my favorite. What a shot !
Tbud (25) 2007-08-21 18:26
What an amazing photo! I have never seen anything like it. I've never thought of trying something like that. The spiral pattern of the stars is really neat. Thanks for putting such an effort into taking a truelly great picture!
Wandering_Dan (3449) 2007-08-21 18:46
A lot of work that paid off beautifully! The hint of sunrise is the crowning touch!
It looks a few star paths crossed in front of the trees on the right.
Dyerco (10185) 2007-08-21 19:03
Well done. Good composition. The 8 hour shot could only be done with the manual camera.
bhardwajkapil78 (486) 2007-08-22 2:13
You rock man....
what an amzing effort behind an amazing picture...
8 hours of exposure.........whhhhhhhhuuuuuuuuuuffffff..
pburraco (861) 2007-10-07 17:40
Great use of your thrusty FM2! Seems we are on a stellar washing machine, aren't we?
Thanks for the posting!
golden (2289) 2007-11-13 1:47
Amazing capture Kevin!
Great result and note too...
mikeo (12129) 2007-11-13 1:53
WOW!!! Kevin its amazing, superb, unbelievable!
Simply great shot...and great note:)
Greg1949 (9011) 2008-02-08 12:21
Well done, great capture and note explaining the process.
altabaie (74) 2008-02-08 12:45
Fantasitc photo and Thanks for your notes. I'll follow your notes to see if I can take similar photos soon when time is right. One question that I have in regards to "south" comment. Are you saying that your camera is exactly pointing to South and you pointed to sky (Southern sky) to have the center of circular trails in the middle of your frame?
picus (914) 2008-02-08 12:56
very nice result. Of course this kind of quality can only be done with a manual camera. Well, in Africa I tried to do a more than 7 hours exposure with a... digital camera! The result is not too bad as well, have a look in my galery some day. But I couldn't just go to sleep in the mean time.
Cheers & congratulations!,
evarol (196) 2008-02-08 13:05
Incredible work. I takes guts to leave a camera outside for 8 hours but you've done it. The product looks incredible. Thansks for letting us see the result.
ag1993 (634) 2008-02-09 1:13
Simply brilliant. Well Done.
windosil (1158) 2008-02-09 4:56
Flashing the cars lights is a brilliant touch - otherwise it might have been done on the computer with a photo of the base of a saucepan???
WichardGraas (336) 2008-04-22 10:33
giorgimer (34941) 2008-10-03 0:30
I'm simply speechless, one of the best shots I've ever seen. I added it to my favorites. Extraordinary technique, perfect effect by the stars.
Very well done!
edmund_yung (188) 2009-05-14 10:46
This is simply an amazing photo. Hard work really does pay off.
NY--METS (86) 2009-10-28 1:37
Beautiful photo, very well taken. You did a good job for the Jeep lights not to wash out strong. I did try some of these shots but not over as long as you did.
sabermonajati (11061) 2009-11-30 3:38
astonishing image from night sky.
lines of stars are amazing.
Meglodon (111) 2012-05-24 4:05
Hi ya Kevin,
What can you say about this but wow,
Fabulous capture & great explanation on how it was done.
GyurMaster (1805) 2013-12-29 11:11
Superb! Thank you very much for the technical details!
- Copyright: Kevin Lang (KevinRL) (835)
- Genre: Places
- Medium: Color
- Date Taken: 1997-07-00
- Categories: Nature
- Camera: Nikon FM2
- Exposure: f/8
- Details: Tripod: Yes (Fill) Flash: Yes
- Photo Version: Original Version
- Theme(s): sohrab's favourites, A shot to remember., Technical, More than 100, hooooooooo, trekks' favorites 1, Parce que 100 ne suffisent pas, Light Trails & Star Trails, The Best of Australia, More than 200 points to 300 – photos, Kasia's Favourites 3 [view contributor(s)]
- Date Submitted: 2004-12-12 16:33
- Favorites: 94 [view]