Night Circles – Tips for Capturing Star Trails

Star trails by Jorrin Bruil

There has been much talk about space and extraterrestrials recently, so its definitely safe to say it’s time to brush up on your night photography skills. If you’re afraid of the dark or what preys during the night, you may want to bring a friend to keep you company.  Night photography is perfect for quiet time, solitude or a small gathering of friends to count the stars with.  Of course depending on where you live, there might be more than a chill in the air,  so make sure you pack the right essentials for your night photo shoot, like extra batteries and warm clothing.

The night sky is so fascinating and photographing it can be just as stellar, pun intended!  There is just enough time to brush up on the basics, for tonight, if your lucky, you might be able to capture the first meteor shower of 2018.  The Quadrantids meteor shower may however, be washed out by the brightness of the moon but it’s always worth a shot!  But how do you capture the sought after star trails?  Shooting the night sky takes some grit for weathering exposure from earth’s natural elements as well as the forfeit of a warm night’s sleep.  However, when you have waited all night in the bitter cold and that image turns out to be breath taking… well, it’s simply worth it!


Here we have included a video from photographer Matthew Saville who captures a lot of astro-landscapes and he covers some great tips for shooting the night’s sky. Within this quick tutorial he discusses why it’s better to photograph the night sky in colder temperatures vs hotter weather.  Matthew states that camera batteries will get warm during the summer months and can cause what is known as thermal noise.  Thermal noise can be the source of “purple blobs” in your images.  Matthew also explains that in cooler temperatures you will have less occurrence of red, blue and green dots that will need to be eliminated during post processing.  He walks you through adjusting ISO, aperture and exposure time with ease, to capture the best shot possible.  *Spoiler Alert*  There will be some “mental math” involved.

For more cool tips and tricks check out Nature TTL channel on youtube or visit Matthew Saville’s photography website.

Good luck capturing the meteor shower tonight and all it’s star trails!

Adapted from Original story posted on PetaPixel