The Star Trail at Apalachicola

"Every trail has a different story about the same point of convergence"

“Every trail has a different story about the same point of convergence”


The first question that gets asked by most of them when they see this particular one is “what exactly is this?” For those who have seen star trail images earlier, this might sound like a frivolous question but the truth is even I had never thought about stars leaving their trail till I began shooting them. Having lived in urban areas most of my life, I did not seem to acknowledge the fact that there are billions of stars right above me at every instant, and that they actually rotated.. oh wait its the earth that is rotating around its axis.

Having warmed ourselves by the fire and after our first successful vegan barbecue experimentation, we packed our gears and moved towards the boat launch ramp close to our camp site at Apalachicola National Forest in Florida during the Thanksgiving season of 2014. It was already 11:30 pm and our conversations were accompanied by evidently loud cricket noise. With the sleeping bags on the grass, we decided to enjoy the starry sky listening to some soulful music after I set up the camera for time lapse and joined my ever patient camping partners Wazim and Siddhu, who were also equally interested in inviting adventure under the night sky. Something that we did not foresee was how cold it could get in the midnight. The dew had damped our sleeping bags and our fingers had started to freeze. From a poetic starry night to sub-zero temperature, within minutes. We stayed in the car till the mist from the lake completely fogged up the lens. Nevertheless,  I was happy that we managed to capture noticeable movement of the stars.

On the technical side of things, this image shows the apparent movement of the stars for a period of 2 Hours and 15 Mins. 59 different images (captured with an interval of 2 minutes between every consecutive frames) are stacked together. The central point in the apparent concentric circles is the North Pole which is one end of the earth’s axis of rotation. The trails seem like  concentric circles due to the sheer number of stars but there is not a single circle, simply because for a complete circle one would require to shoot the stars for a duration of 24 Hours. Exactly the time earth takes to completely rotate around its axis. Also, you’ll never be able to that as it is impossible to capture the stars in the day time.

59 of such single photographs were shot at regular intervals and stacked on top of each other to obtain the image of the star trails.

59 of such single photographs were shot at regular intervals and stacked on top of each other to obtain the image of the star trails.

Location: Apalachicola National Forest, Florida.
EXIF Details:  Shutter Speed: 13 Sec / ISO:3200 / Aperture: 3.8
Number of Images Stacked: 59
Total Duration: 2Hr 15Mins
Interval Between Images: 120 Sec

This was one of the many photographs that were clicked during this trip,  more about the adventures in the upcoming posts. I hope you enjoyed reading my first post. Shall you have any questions or suggestions, please feel free to drop a comment below. Meanwhile spread the word, share the joy!

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  1. Srilalitha November 27, 2015

    Well written! Quite informative tooπŸ‘πŸ˜Š! Looking forward to many more musings😝

    • Srikanth November 30, 2015 — Post Author

      I am glad you liked the post. I hope you find my upcoming posts informative too. Thank you! πŸ™‚

  2. Anjana November 27, 2015

    Superb post Srikanth. Brilliant idea to see the effect by stacking pics on top of each other. Looking forward to many more such posts bout ur brilliant photography

    • Srikanth November 30, 2015 — Post Author

      Thank you so much, I am glad you liked it. More posts coming up very soon!

  3. Shubha November 27, 2015

    Congrats on your first blog!!I didnt know about star trail either,honestly spellbound reading and seeing it.Goodluck!

  4. Akshay January 19, 2016

    This one is absolutely fascinating. I’m definitely spreading the word and sharing the joy, all the while waiting for the next one. Soon, I hope?

    • Srikanth January 19, 2016 — Post Author

      Hey Akshay, Thank you so much, totally appreciate you spreading the word! The next one is very much in the making and will be out very soon. Stay tuned!

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    Beautiful… The city lights add to the beauty of the carousel in the sky…!

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