Star Trail Photography
A collection of images, descriptions and instructions.
by Steven W. Walenta
The photographs in this book represent a body of work that started around 1992 and continues through today. The bright streaks in the sky areas of these photos are star trails. Star trails are streaks produced on the film by stars as the Earth rotates during the night. Most photographs taken during the day have a shutter speed of around 1/60 of a second and therefore capture a very small period of time in the image. These star pictures were made at night with very long shutter speeds, anywhere from a few minutes to several hours in length, and capture a long period of time in each picture. During this time anything moving will appear as a blur or streak. The movement of the Earth causes the stars to streak. Anything stationary, such as rocks and trees, will not blur.
With two exceptions, all images were produced using film cameras. The color differences between the prints is a result of the film's tendency to shift colors during long exposures and/or light pollution. Other than minor contrast and brightness adjustments, no digital manipulations were applied.
Steven W. Walenta is a photographer, digital-imaging specialist and photographic educator based in Santa Fe, New Mexico. He teaches at the Santa Fe Photographic Workshops and the Santa Fe Community College and is the owner of Steven W. Walenta Photography, LLC.