How To: Star Trail Photography – Stacking

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An introduction to creating Star Trail photos by stacking multiple images in StarStaX and Adobe Photoshop CS5 using Russell Brown’s Stack-A-Matic script. Learn More in the Ebook by Jim M. Goldstein Photographing the 4th Dimension – Time Slow Shutter & Video Techniques for High Impact Photography


salemkid1979 says:

if you have an android, download a free app such as Droid Sky or Google Sky Map. Once you have that search for Polaris (The North Star) and set your center point there.

Lockey007 says:

Earth rotates around poles, find a pole( south for you) and point your camera towards it.

aznchikki96 says:

How did you get the centre of the stars. E.g the stars were rotating in a circular motion. Did you use an astronomy app to find it?

nobbythenobster2k0 says:

Great tutorial,clear and informative. Nice work

nobbythenobster2k0 says:

Superb tutorial, very clear and informative, Thanks

Isella Annunziata says:

Hey there! Have you ever tried photo sfxart tricks (google it)? My mate Ellena made some stunning pictures with their video tutorials.

fableblue2010 says:

It seems like Jim Goldstein has given up on this upload. I am basing this assumption on the fact that none of the question in the comments were answered.

Nolan Gaudreau says:

How long was each exposure?

shittart583 says:

what was the camera settings for each photo and how often did you take each pic?

Barnabas Böröcz says:

Nice Video!
But I have one probleme in CS6 and Stack-A-Matic Vers. 2.3.1. I don’t have the check box “Star Trail Gap Removal”. What do I have to choose, that I also have a star trail?

BlueOnRS says:

Wow thanks a LOT! I didnt know about that function haha, it was still on the default setting. This is great, no more waiting after long exposures 🙂 Great!

AScannerDarkly22 says:

I’m not sure if anyone has previously answered your question, but in case they haven’t, you have to turn off the in-camera noise reduction function. That will eliminate the gaps between shots.

AussieSoccerBoy94 says:

thanks so much dude, helped me heaps

Moe A says:

From where can I get the Russell Brown’s Stack-A-Matic script? 🙂


Great video…very helpful

LemnosExplorerDotCom says:

may i ask you how do you manage to colourcorrect trails to maintain their bluish color ?

xdarrylx says:

Hey Jim.

I have tried doing this the same way you have done through photoshop. But when I’m transferring to PS, the popup window I get is the same as yours, apart from the bottom check box “Star Trail Gap Removal.” I don’t get that on mine. Would this be because of my Stack-A-Matic script is 2.2.9 not 2.2.3 like yours?

Ryan Ducharme says:

Jim, this is AMAZING… can you give a brief rundown of how to get started in star trail photography ?

BlueOnRS says:

Whenever a take a long exposure photo it takes a bit of time for it to process after the shutter has closed again, meaning i dont get a trail but rather (in my first attempt) 5 small lines with gaps.

Can you resolve this by adjusting my camera settings (nikon d3200) or do i have to take very long exposures instead of many small ones and stack?

Thanks for the video, even though the result isn’t perfect in my case it was still really helpful.

Andyfrog321 says:

Can this be done with photoshop elements 10?

hellzone100 says:

Your computer is slow. You need 6 cores like me 🙂
Build a mac pro.

astrobc1 says:

longer photos get more grainy depending on your ISO and probably more important, if you do shorter exposures, they are less likely to be affected by light pollution.

Timbo2510 says:

What is better? Photoshop or StarStaX?

poolec4 says:

What was the interval you used when taking the original pictures?

ron en says:

thank you, great.

spikyhead180 says:

I’m using Russell’s program and idk what I’m doing wrong the photo always come out looking like just one of the photos I shot, not blending the stars to make the swirl? Any tips???

persephoneluv says:

help me i couldnt download the script. no permission??? 🙁 help!

persephoneluv says:

i need this stack a mat thing!

Ben Clayton says:

A very useful guide to the novices amongst us. Cheers Jim.

xsjado man says:


cassoneservices says:

Hi Jim… we should talk sometime. I’d like to show you the custom intervalomter that my friend just developed for us which allows for the interval between shots to be reduced to as low as 0.010 seconds… no more gap to remove…

aodes83 says:

I got a question for you:
What’s the specifications of your super powerful machine !

Theokondak says:

What i do in order to get rid of plane trails etc, is to remove the frames that got affected.Works pretty well.

medirs says:

10.8GB?! :O jesus

tmigot says:

I tried 30 min but it was then too long/bright/ my take would be 10min max. i was using bulb mode since the TV (Canon only lets you do 30sec). I used f/5.6 and the combo worked great. Let me know if i make any sense.

tmigot says:

Obviously i do not know the answer to your question since i am not the one who took the shots. However, i have been shooting night pix tonight and playing with some stars in clear winter take is that the longer you expose the longer trail you will get in one shot however, the BIG draw back is that your image is getting brighter and brighter until being over exposed. i have been shooting at 2 min and 5min and i get about 0.5cm star trail (viewed on my 17” screen to fit).

magicentral says:

I’m wondering the same thing as mathew, what are the exposures of these several hundered images that you are layering and how far apart are they taken?

Mathew Teague says:

Hey, Nice video!
Was wondering what sort of shutter speed you were using for these images? also what focal length you were using? and finally, if you were using long exposure noise reduction?

I going to try some and im getting some people saying to do one image at 1 hour duration and use long exposure noise reduction to get rid of a lot of the noise. But other are saying the stacking method and not using the long exposure noise reduction… which might you recommend?

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