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Mount Kidd and Highway 40 – Alberta Nature Photographer

Well I finally had a small window of opportunity to get out to the mountains last night. Since it was a clear night and the stars were nice and bright I thought it was a perfect night to try something like this. I don't recall ever seeing a photograph of light trails from a car on a starry night, so I thought I would give it a try! This one was a little tricky and required a bit of planning ahead. First I parked my car on the side of the road and put my high beams on to illuminate the sign so that I would have something of contrast to lock focus on. Next I moved my car onto the road beside the camera so that I would not cast a shadow from the tripod onto the shoulder of the road. I set the camera to iso 500 to expose for the area my headlights where illuminating then started the 30 second exposure and drove away. Once I knew the exposure was finished, I drove back (this way you don't have headlights pointing into the camera). This exposure gave me basically just the road and light trails from the vehicle – the rest was black. I then went back to the camera and bumped my iso up to 4000 to increase the light sensitivity to allow the nice starry atmosphere to show up. I later combined the two exposures to get what you see here. If you can, please view this in a dark room, it shows up a little better that way. Hope you like it!



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Reader Comments (4)

Hey Wayne,

That is a pretty damn fine image. Love the workflow description, and it looks like it paid off in spades.. Great work.

December 6, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJeremy Calow

Thanks Jeremy! Now that I have that shot under my belt, I would like to do a starry night shot some place like Spray Lake, Castle Mountain, or Abraham Lake. Would you be up for that some time when the forecast is for clear skies?


December 6, 2010 | Registered CommenterWayne Simpson Photography

For sure... I was actually going to head to Castle Mountain on sunday morning, but never really got the needed sleep to allow me to drive semi-functionally, so opted out at the last moment hehe.. But yea I would be up for a jaunt out for some night shooting..

December 6, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJeremy Calow

Sweet shot Wayne! I remember we talked about this type of image before, but it is great to see the results and how you've put this together to create an image that really works. I am amazed at how much detail you were able to capture in the mountains considering the low light. Really great!

December 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMike Pereira

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