Star Trails over Ring of Brodgar, Orkney


Chris Marshall


Equipment – Canon EOS 550D, Sigma 15mm, ExDG Fisheye lens, camera tripod, Shoot intervalometer.

Description – I took 100 x 30sec shots in RAW, 15 sec interval between shots. Iso 800, f3.2. 15 x Darks same exposure.

After reading Jamie Carter’s article in your July issue I was inspired to try Star trails for the first time. I was in Orkney on an archaeological dig at the Neolithic site,
the Ness of Brodgar. The nearby 4500 year old stone circle, Ring of Brodgar, looked like a good place for dramatic pics. I wasn’t disappointed! I think we had only 2
clear nights in 2 months.
After stacking the image in StarStax, using darks to reduce the noise, I decided to use only the first 56 shots as this showed some cloud beside the standing stone
which I think adds some visual interest. Using all 100 shots washed out most of the cloud, which was drifting across the frame.
It was one day before full moon giving a nice blue sky. But I’d like to try again under a dark sky.
Before stacking I sharpened the images and applied some vibrance and lens correction in PS.

I’m extremely pleased with the result, so thanks to you all for your advice. I love the way one can produce such good images using freeware.
I think it gives an impression of what Neolithic man made of the sky above in 2500BC.

One thing that I did forget though was to take some midge repellant. I was eaten alive for 2 hours!. Still, sometimes you have to suffer a bit to get a really good image.