“Star Trail Over Lake Tekapo” represents the culmination of days of planning, preparation, practice and post-processing. At times, it seemed like it would never come together, but in the end, persistence and patience won out, and the results speak for themselves.
Star trails are something that nearly every landscape photographer has a go at at one time or another, and I am no exception. Having cut my teeth on a few long single-exposure star trails, I took my first real crack at star trail stacking with “Star Trail Over Lake Tekapo.” Over 400 individual images had to be stacked, edited and blended to create the image that you see here. To capture them, I arrived at Lake Tekapo on a clear night, claimed a spot among the rocks at the water’s edge at sunset, composed my shot, captured an image at dusk to use for the foreground, programmed my intervalometer, waited for darkness, started the timer and stayed out until first light, while the camera captured image after image over a period of about six hours. Then, the real work began: painstakingly removing all of the light painters, satellites, shooting stars and the rare passing cars from the individual images, stacking and blending them together to create the sky and, finally, layering the foreground image over the top.
For my earlier star trails, I pointed my camera towards the south in order to capture the vortex of the trail, but for this image, I wanted to try something a bit different. Facing towards the east, I ended up with long curving lines instead of concentric circles. The lines almost seem to point to or emanate from the iconic Church of the Good Shepherd, while the lupines around the church add that final bit of “pop.” A crop to the 6×17 panoramic format seemed to suit this image best, so that’s what I’ve chosen to do. I sure hope that you like it!
This print is available for purchase in three sizes (Simply click on the link to the size that you desire, and you’ll be taken to a page where you can add it to your cart.):