Interesting Photo of the Day: Star Trails Behind the Moon

It’s isn’t really the norm that we see a flare of creativity in astrophotography. While almost all images of space turn out spectacular and blow us off our feet, there’s seemingly little room for creativity. But what photographer Sam Winsor did with the following photograph is quite fascinating. While you can’t get this kind of image with a single exposure, he used stacking and blending to get this beautiful result:

star trails behind the moon

“Star Trails Behind the Moon.” by Sam Windsor (Via Reddit. Click image to see full size.)

The image is a 15 shot composite that Windsor took on his Sony A7II and a 1200mm Dobsonian telescope. For the darker side, he took 13 shots at ISO 1000 and 1/8s and stacked them up. As for the lit side, he took a single shot at ISO 1600 and 1/100s. And for the star trails, he took a single long exposure of 30 seconds at ISO 500. For the final result he stacked the images and blended them together using Photoshop.

“The stars are shot in a different region of the sky, but at the same time, I was capturing moon shots. Obviously, it is too difficult to capture the stars surrounding the moon at those focal lengths and such a bright subject.”

What’s really interesting about this image is how it visualizes the relative motion between the earth, moon, and the stars. Had it been possible to take a single long exposure with the moon and the stars in the same frame, while tracking the moon, the result would’ve been the same. But that’s a huge challenge since the moon’s brightness would overexpose the image.

Hats off to the photographer for his creativity in this one.

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