This guest post about time-lapse landscape astrophotography is written by Christoph Malin from Austria.
Last year I got myself into landscape astrophotography as I was invited to do a story about that topic for a German Nature Magazine.
I have taken all footage with Nikons D700 (my astro-favorite), D300, some footage with D3x just to test and just recently I added a D7000 to my setup. Time-lapse photography itself is demanding on cameras as well as on the hardware in post processing.
Time-lapse is also extremely demanding on post processing, as you get lots of gigs of NEF raw images to finally extract the time-lapse footage. But in the end, when you first watch your time-lapses on the big screen, it is very very rewarding.
This entry was posted in Other Nikon stuff and tagged astrophotography, Christoph Malin's timelapse video, [NR] Guest Posts. I try to shoot in aperture priority to avoid colour change, but for a few hours in darkness, manual is fine. I’m an astronomy and photgraphy lover myself, but only recently I’ve became acquainted with this wonderful time-lapse astrophotography world! Congratulations on your work and congrats also for all others that, like you, devote time and patience to create such wonderful masterpieces! In this video I will show you the photo session and Photoshop editing of the images to create a star trail and 4K time lapse.
We will visit the location before the night shooting session in order to see the access and possible setup places. For night photography, it’s not necessary to have the most expensive camera out there.
If you don’t have a remote trigger, you can also shoot in Burst Mode if your camera allows you and simply tape the shutter button. Proper clothing is also important because nights are usually colder, check the terrain and wear proper shoes.
If you want to photograph the milky way or the stars, you need clear dark skies and no moon, otherwise you will not see the stars.
Also check clouds coverage charts and make sure you have no clouds, because the stars will no be visible. Setup your tripod and make sure you open the legs wide enough to avoid movement in case of wind and wrap the camera strap to the tripod so it doesn’t hang  around moving your camera or getting in front of the lens. If the stars are very bright you can focus to infinity using by pointing to the brightest star on the sky.
You can also increase the exposure time, but to go beyond 30 seconds you have to switch to Bulb mode and use the remote trigger.
Once I found the right settings for my photos, I programmed my remote control by setting to Timer Mode with and Long exposure time of 40 seconds and an Interval of 5 seconds between each shot and hit the play button. The Nikon D7100 has a built in Long Exposure Noise Reduction (LENR) function which can take the dark frame after each image automatically and subtract the noise when it processes the image.
The reason why I took this dark frame on a separate black image is because I want to show you how you can use it in Photoshop to remove noise from your final composition but it’s not as effective as the built in function on your camera. Select all the layers except the last on on the bottom and change their blend mode to Lighten. Cleaning the image from airplane trails is time consuming depending on how many images you used to make your star trail. If you want to take advantage of your shooting session, you can use the same image to also create a timelapse video but you will need far more photos than just 60. Tagged design tutorials, how to make a timelapse, learn photoshop, night photography, night photography tutorial, original tutorials, photoshop star trail, photoshop tutorials, star trail, star trail tutorial, time-lapse, time-lapse photography tutorial, timelapse tutorial. The stills capture has also been upgraded with a new resolution of 12 megapixels and a 30FPS burst mode to capture even the fastest action sequences. The camera has both bluetooth and WiFi connectivity so you can control it using the optional remote or smartphone app. If you don’t need the high resolution capture then there is a new Silver model that retains the 120FPS video capture and other features of the Black, but adds a touchscreen on the back.
The 2016 European paragliding championships are confirmed for Macedonia, to take place from August 6-20. The 15th Annual Big Spring Nationals takes place from 7-13 August 2016, with a practice day on 6 August.
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For testing the camera, We took a few pictures of our usual objects, and also some selfies. The Activeon CX is an affordable entry-level action camera with specifications and features that are on par (if not higher) than what competitors such as GoPro can offer. You definitely get more bang for your buck with the Activeon CX, as the display definitely makes setting up and framing shots a lot more easier and more reliable, and it is bright enough to view under direct sunlight.
The settings lets you set the camera to record in a narrow, medium, wide and super-wide modes and has the option of four levels of digital zoom. Video and picture quality is excellent, however videos can sometimes be grainy, especially when moving the camera a lot.  Although this not that noticable, if you’re looking for professional level video then this isn’t your way to go.
In terms of accessories, Activeon offers a large selection of them, such as a classic selfie-stick, as well as a suction mount, a roll-bar mount, a surfboard mount, a chest trap, 6 different faceplates for customization, as well as a WiFi remote. The Activeon CX captures great HD video and competes head to head with the original GoPro Hero. Tony is an international student from Greece, currently a sophomore majoring in global business and minoring in biology at the University of Redlands in California. As I dug deeper into the astrophotography scene and all the dedicated international websites, conferences and events, I got to know many interesting astrophotographers. A problem we have on our beautiful planet, that hinders us to watch a clear night sky from our crowded cities or illuminated landscapes. I like the D7000 a lot as it is super fast, lightweight, has a very good noise-to-signal behaviour and a crop which is useful for deep space astrophotography. I will also show you how to shoot time lapse photography, the camera settings and how I took the dark frame used to subtract the noise from the image once the star effect is created in Photoshop.
The most expensive the better the results of course but the lens you are using is far more important in my opinion.
But you can find really cheap remote triggers and even though wireless are a bit more comfortable to use, a corded one will do the job too.
In my case I was wearing tall rubber boots because there was a lot of tall grass full of bugs and thorns.
On the internet you can find applications that will give you the forecast but you can also just watch the TV and check the local forecast. On manual mode, pump the ISO very high 1600 or above and the lowest F number and set an exposure of 30″ and try from there.
Set the camera and focus mode to Manual and set the widest aperture of your lens (lowest F number), ISO of 800 and exposure time of 30″, take a test shot and of course shoot in RAW. Try with 40 seconds and same ISO and F number and you will get longer star trails and brighter image. The downfall of using the built in function is that the picture takes twice as long to be taken (40 seconds for the normal exposure and 40 seconds to take the dark frame). That way you will have an image where the foreground is well lit and free of noise which you can compose in Photoshop using a simple layer mask. With the settings that I used to shoot all the images, the foreground is a bit too dark so after I finished shooting the sequence, without moving the tripod, I took another shot and I painted the foreground with a flashlight. For a 10 seconds video at 25 frames per second you need 250 images and if each photo takes 40 seconds to be taken, that’s 10000 seconds (about 3 hours of shooting if you also add 5 seconds of interval between shots).
You can create the time lapse video straight from Lightroom using the Slideshow module and the time lapse presets for lightroom but exporting the time lapse takes about 15 minutes depending on the amount of images you export. For this tutorial I used another software called Sequence to create the 4K the time lapse video. The company say they have improved the low-light capabilities of the camera and added customisable exposure settings with shutter speeds of up to 30 seconds allowing you to capture the night sky. This is where Argentina brings its family to relax – from wine tours to horse riding to kayaking to gorge walking, it’s all here. The app lets you use your smartphone or tablet as a viewfinder to monitor live video, allows you to control and manage files and even share content directly to social media. In addition, to optimize image quality, there are different recording modes for different situations; such as sports, night-time, and underwater. He attended a private American international school for 7 years, and has always been determined to move to the US. Some of them often do time-lapse astrophotography with a second or even third camera whenever they do skywatching and deep space imaging. Even here in Tyrol, Austria, where we live in an area with some silent and dark valleys left with low population, Light Pollution has become an issue in the recent decade.
I tried saving on camera as jpg but even with all controls set to manual the brightness gets adjusted each shot, so it can flicker a bit.

Think about bugs and other creatures so take with you bug spray especially if you’re going to shoot near a water source. Elevated locations are also great to avoid pollution and have a clearer view of the stars and even see the milky way with the naked eye. If you carried a flashlight you can use it to illuminate into the distance and focus that way. The objective is to get a photo that is bright enough so you can see what’s in the frame. Your objective is to get a decent amount of stars and a usable amount of noise so you will have to balance it. So I put the lens cap on and I took a shot using the exact same settings I have set for the time lapse sequence.
Load the photos you want to use for your star trail, with 100 photos you will have more than enough (even less if you use exposures longer than 40 seconds). I used this image to put it on top of my star trail and used a layer mask to blend the images. When you swipe from left to right, you will see a lot of modes like Beauty mode, Slow Motion recording, Panorama, Time lapse, Light Painting, Professional mode and also a flash-capable HDR mode.
It directly competes against the original base GoPro Hero, and comes with extra features such as a 2-inch LCD display and built-in WiFi so you can view your content directly from the camera or from your mobile devices through the companion app. Another great advantage over the GoPro Hero is that the Activeon CX comes with a built-in micro-HMDI port for streaming high definitino content to your television or external display. You also have the option of adding filters to videos and photos; however, I do not recommend using them as you cannot remove them once your shot has been taken.
It can capture video at up to 1080p at 30 frames per second, and you have the option to record at 720p at 60 frames per second (slow motion). I definitely recommend it to someone looking for a reasonably priced camera that can shoot clear wide-angled HD video, to take it out for adventures and outings. He loves all sorts of technology which explains his interest for Android and the rapidly changing world of the smartphone industry. Disclosure: [NR] is sponsored by companies and affiliate partners that display various advertising banners and links (see our Privacy Policy). Take a flashlight for light painting the foreground and a head lamp for your safety, you will walk safer and you will be seen by others.
Take extra batteries for your electronic equipment and maybe even something to eat and drink, you will out there for a few hours. There are plenty of websites that will give you the lunar phase but it’s usually on the middle of the month where there is no moon on the sky (depending on your hemisphere). You will get an unusable image with lots of noise but it will help you make your composition.
The foreground should have some light on it as well, unless you want to have a silhouetted horizon line. Make as many test shots as you need and make sure the focus is right, the last thing you want is to get home after 3 or 4 hours of shooting and find out that the pictures are out of focus. Disable the visibility of all layers except the bottom one and start enabling them back one by one and inspect your image.
The waterproof case (airtight up to 196 feet under water, which according to Activeon is deeper than the competitor’s case) and adhesive mount are also part of the package. If you’re looking for a low-budget action camera, then the Activeon CX might definitely be a better option over the base model GoPro Hero, given the extra features that come part of the package. If you increase the ISO you will get more noise but also brighter stars and brighter foreground (expensive cameras handle noise a lot better). This will be used later when we make the star trail image to subtract this noise from the stacked images. When you see a new airplane trail, use the Spot Healing Brush Tool to remove it and continue with the process until you’re done. The interface of the device is easy to use, and the 2-inch LCD display and two-button navigation system definitely makes it easier to navigate through the settings. The camera also has a photo burst mode feature that lets you capture pictures at a rate of three or five frames per second. In his free time he enjoys working out, going out, watching movies and has a passion for traveling.

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