Stars over the abandoned Bunker

Description

I had been to the area several times before. I had recently made my first attempt at a Milky Way shot at the near Valdevaqueros Dune. After reasonable success with that one, I decided to try another type of night shot and capture some star trails.

I arrived before sunset. This is a popular local spot for photography and, upon arrival, I already found a group of four photographers getting ready for some light painting. I set my tripod on top of the foreground rocks and started shooting right before sunset, then waited for the group to end and started to shoot the stars.

My plan was similar to last time: to get a tack sharp shot of the bunker in the blue hour and then take at least some 100 shoots of the stars at 20-30 seconds exposure time to then stack them in post to get the star trails. I ended up taking 150 shots.

I shot the stars at 20-second exposures using again the Sony PlayMemories timelapse camera app was. Learning from the previous shot, I didn’t touch the camera during the whole sequence and let the app do its thing.

Developing Notes

I searched for software to stack the star shots and get the trails and decided on the free StarStaX. Pretty easy to use. You only have to load the single images, pick a couple parameters and let it do its thing. The end result shows the star trails.

So you get from 150 frames like this:

bunker_zahara_single

to something like this (in this case using StarStaX’s gap filling method):

bunker_zahara_starstax_gap_filling

The rest of the processing was similar to the previous one, blending this blue hour shot in:

bunker_zahara_blue_hour

and correcting perspective, white balance, shadows, etc for the blend to be realistic.

The light pollution, this time coming from the nearby city of Tarifa, didn’t annoy me, and I even tried to embrace it.

In this occasion, I had learned the lesson and didn’t touch the camera, nor the tripod… nothing! And I set it up in a very quiet spot and protected it from the potential wind hence I avoided the issue with foreground alignment I had last time when doing the blend (phew!)

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