Long Weekend in Matlock, MB – Sunrise, Star Trails, and More!

We headed out to the cottage for the long weekend. I had hoped to use the pier at Matlock Beach for a sunrise shoot and to try out star trails for the first time. To my surprise the pier at Matlock Beach wasn’t up yet but I knew there were a few others up it was just a matter of finding one that had a beach! So I headed to Whytewold and their pier was up, along with a tiny beach. This is the pier that I used for my sunrise shoot and star trails. I had brought my camera along with my neutral density filter to try out a couple of shots. I have a 10x neutral density filter, so it is quite dark. On a filter such as this, you will need to create your composition and focus before putting the filter on. I would also suggest turning auto focus off as auto focus has difficulty focusing in low light conditions.  It had just finished raining, so there wasn’t a lot of color it was mostly grey and gloomy so I decided to convert that image to B & W.

Sunrise was at 538a on Sunday Morning, so that meant getting up at 445a to watch the sunrise. It was a cool morning and there was some low level ground fog which is always a nice bonus! The sunrise was beautiful some clouds create a dramatic and colorful sunrise. When shooting the sunrise or sunset I like to do a lot of bracketing and HDR work. Taking multiple images and blending them together to create the best exposure possible. I also like to do some silhouette shoots, which means exposing for the colors in the sunrise as to not overexposure them but underexposing the foreground.

After the sunrise and on the way back to the cottage I notice how the lighting was hitting the grass and how beautiful the heavy dew was looking. So I figure this was good excuse to stop and try out a macro shot. Manage to get a great reflection of the grass in the dew.

That evening I wanted to head out to the beach and try my hand at startrails. Since this was my first time doing the start trail I ask the members of the Manitoba Foto Friends if they had any tips. I got a great response and got some useful tips. There are two different ways of doing star trail – the 1st is to do a long exposure this can lead to some long exposure noise in your image which isn’t something that you want. The 2nd way was to do multiple exposures using an intervometer or using the camera continuous shooting mode. Since I didn’t have intervometer I used the camera’s continuous shooting mode by locking the shutter button and just letting it go. The reason that you want to shoot on continuous is so that you don’t have any gaps in the star trails.  For this one you should also do a couple of test shoots to test out your exposure and composition. Then the images are stacked together using a specific program. A big thanks to Sheila for suggestion the following programs to use and best of all they are free!  www.startrails.de or StarStax. You always want to shoot at a wide open aperture and an ISO around 800. Since it was a new moon there wasn’t any moon light to light up the foreground so you had to do some light paint. I also had the added bonus of having cars drive by the pier to help light it up. I had wanted to try both ways to see what the difference in the results would be

The first shot was taking using the first method that I describe. The exposure was 16 minutes. ISO 800 and the aperture was f/3.5


The 2nd shot was taken back at the cottage as it was a pretty cool May night. So I set the camera up on the deck and try letting it take multiple images while I was inside the nice warm cottage. I used the fire to help light the tree for a bit until it burnt out and then I had to use a small LED flashlight to help light up the trees. I let the camera run for 30 minutes; I had just over 50 shots that uploaded into the starstax program. This is the image that I can up with.

All in all I prefer the composition in the first image but I like the way the star trails look in the 2nd image. So from now on I am going to be taking multiple shots and stacking the images together.

On the last day of being at the cottages we decided to take a walk down to a different pier. One that normally won’t go to but since the beach that we normally go to didn’t have the pier up we went to this on. I notice that the water was very low and that the rocks were showing. So I decided to come back with my tripod and neutral density filter so that I could use a slower shutter speed to show the movement of the water amongst the rocks. Since there was no beach I had to put my rubber boots and get a little wet. I set up the tripod in amongst the rocks. Since I wanted the greatest depth of field possible and to get a slower shutter speed I set the aperture to f/22. The bigger the aperture number the smaller the lens opening, the smaller the number the bigger the lens opening is.  Making the aperture smaller lets in less light.  I ran the image threw a bleach filter.

Had a great weekend and can’t wait to head back out there to try out more Star Trails!

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