Mike Rosinski was fixing to take 45 minutes’ worth of 20-second exposures to capture concentric star trails near his home in Michigan. But he nodded off for a few hours, and when he came back, his battery was dead, a throng of fireflies had invaded his shot, and he’d distilled the essence of summer into a single photograph. He also took turned out a time-lapse video of the evening.
If you want to try to replicate Mike’s sleepy masterpiece, you’ll need to do (just a bit) more than set up a tripod and doze off for a couple hours. DIY Photography has an amazing guide to shooting star trails, but here are a few basics to get you started. There are two ways to shoot concentric star trails: doing it all in a single exposure or stacking a bunch of shorter shots on top of each other in an app like Aperture. The main virtue of the stacking method, which is what Mike used, is that it cuts down on noise in the shot, so you can shoot at a higher ISO and pick up more stars (and fireflies).
Another thing to consider is that you have to decide what you want to focus on — the star trails or the foreground — and focus your shot accordingly. And finally, of course, you’ll need a field rotten with fireflies and a gorgeous summer night. Not much to do about that one. [APOD – DIY Photography]