I've wanted to take a photo of Star Trails over the Venice Fishing Pier. However, it's a very popular place. I had a picture of the pier's entrance with stars trailing around it in my mind. Thursday night, the weather was also perfect for the experiment, so I ventured forth.
The shot has several challenges - excessive light pollution, foot traffic, and minimal space to take the photo. I had to wait after everything closed to solve the foot traffic problem. The light pollution for the foreground was ticky - I used two live composite shots created at different times, blue hour and night time, with other exposures. I then blended them in post. However, the star trails still suffered a bit of light pollution, being so close to the city. Still, I knew I'd get a few stars to pop. After blending the layers in Photoshop and some edits in Lightroom and Aurora HDR, I managed to pull something together.
I learned a couple of things. I should have focus-stacked the blue hour, double-checked the infinity setting for star trails, and gotten a better tripod (notice the shaky stars, sigh). Overall, I'm delighted with the result, and I've learned a few things to make the next time better.
February 10, 2022
Here are the tec specs if anyone is interested.
Olympus O-MD E-M1 II
M.Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8 PRO at 12mm
Tabletop tripod (Phottix)
Foreground (Sign) f/2.8 and 30 Seconds at ISO 1600
Background (Star Trails) f/2.8 and 45 minutes at ISO 1600 (focused on the sign)
Background (Pier) f/22 and 4 seconds at 200 (Captured during the Blue Hour)
Type of light - Starlight, Artificial Light
Placement - On a wobbly box in front of the pier
No strobes or other modifiers.
Lightroom Classic - Basic Edits and Cataloging
Photoshop - for blending and masking exposures
Aurora HDR- for a final tonal tweak