Trails of Orion Over Fairview
I love the lighting in this shot from Saturday night. I took this by standing out on Lake Louise, from a spot you couldn’t be in summer without getting wet!
Moonlight grazes the east and north slopes of Mount Fairview, while spill from a skating rink flood lamp lights the trees. The sky is deep blue from moonlight making this look like a day scene.
But this is actually a 4-minute exposure, purposely long to allow the stars of Orion and the bright star Sirius at left to trail across the heavens over Fairview.
Unlike most nightscape shots, of necessity taken at high ISO speeds to grab lots of light in a short exposure, I took this shot at ISO 100. Even with the blog’s low resolution images, I think you can see the difference here – this slow-speed shot looks richer and smoother, lacking the fine noise that is inevitable in high ISO shots. It’s just like using slow speed film – in the old days I’d always carry two types of film for trips like this: slow Velvia 50 for long star trail shots, and fast Fuji or Ektachrome 400 for the untrailed nightscapes. I always loved the Velvia shots – they were indeed like smooth velvet.
Now with digital cameras you can switch settings as you like. And see the results instantly. How did we ever manage to get any results with film?
— Alan, February 6, 2012 / © 2012 Alan Dyer