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Creating long composite exposures of star trails at night is a dramatic way to render the relationship of the earth within the greater whole of the star-studded universe. Advances in digital photography and post-production have improved the ease of creating this kind of stunning image. Using manual exposure controls, a tripod, and a remote release, point your camera at the stars and create your own star trail images!

In this article, I've explained the following:

  • Basic mechanics of exposing for star trails
  • How stacking works in star trails
  • Differences between stacking and HDR bracketing
  • Using the Photoshop Statistics script
  • Loading a Photoshop layer stack from Bridge or Lightroom
  • Changing the blending mode of many layers
  • Using the Advanced Stacker Plus Photoshop plug-in

Harold Davis is an award-winning professional photographer whose work is widely admired and collected. He is the author of many bestselling photography books and his popular workshops are often sold out. Harold Davis is a Moab printmaking Master.

You can visit Harold's blog and learn about his workshops online. Harold's book The Way of the Digital Photographer: Walking the Photoshop Post-Production Path to More Creative Photography is available from Peachpit Press.

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