Star Trails - Ancient Bristlecone Forest

by Coyote Lost

star trails ancient bristlecone forest kodak x schneider super coyote lost

Gallery: Black & White Landscapes

Tags: star trails ancient kodak 4x5 forest schneider super angulon 90mm f56 bristlecone

Category: Uncategorized

Published: Saturday 18th of January 2003 04:45:15 AM


Comments

John McLaine
Fabulous job! Often in star trail photographs, the photographer forgets or neglects to include a worthwhile foreground, something on earth to anchor the image. Not so in this case. Must be beautiful in a large print.

Paul Ferraris
Excellent.

Lost Coyote
ovals & circles the star tracks look oval in shape because i used a wide angle 90mm lens (4x5 format). that doesn't bother me because for this particular image, i am more interested in what it says from a spiritual, emotional, or symbolic perspective. here we have the stars overhead that are going to be here for a very long time, the bristlecone pines have been there for 3000-4000 years, and then i walked right through the picture twice (once to go back to my truck & sleep and again to trip the shutter off) and don't even show up. that sort of symbolizes the element of time for me, personally, in a certain fashion. we (humans) are here for a very short stay and yet, collectively speaking, we seem to think we are somehow superior in the way we claim dominion over the world in which we depend upon for life itself. it's a powerful photograph when thought of in this fashion: we are nothing we are everything... everything in the sense that we're made from the same stardust that the trees are made from; nothing in the sense that within the timeframe and scale of what seems to be eternity, we're truly insignificant... but as individuals, we're everything of significance because we do relate to our environment and have made a huge impact. everything is interrelated... from us to the trees to the stars. okay, okay... just my opinion here & i'll step off my pedestal now. :)

Shawn Kilmer
f-in fantastic. exposure time??

Lost Coyote
exposute time ~ 8 hours remember that a full circle is 24 hours. so take any star in time lapse picture and figure out the arc. in this case, it's around 110-120 degrees (let's use 120 deg) so: (120 deg) / (360 deg/circle) * (24 hr/circle) = 8 hours

Fred Kamphues
Brilliant photo, but can you tell me why the star trails are oval and not round?

Simon Lonsdale
Re: Ovals & Circles I see you've put a lot of thought into this. And I must say I agree with your sentiments. You've got a wonderful image here, and a wonderful sense of self expression. Thanks for sharing your insights with us

Terry McCully
Perfect 7\7 for this great shot!!!

Bert Armijo
This is a good example of this style of photo. I agree with the other comment about your selection of a nice foreground to anchor the shot. The only nit I see is the largest trees seem to be leaning into the spiral, but I don't think it detract from the image much. Very well done.

Ben Manlove
This is great. I'm sure the small online scan doesn't look as good as a print. All of your black and white work is excellent, but I think this captures my attention the most. Amazing.

Louis Tsai
Excellent photo! I especially like the way the tree in the foreground points towards the concentric circles. It gives the photo a more "grand" and profound feel. By the way, your presentation is excellent too, thanks for sharing with us.

Thomas Stepat
Wonderful!!! I feel that your composition is absolutely beautiful!!! I immediatley identified with the spiritual feel of the scene. I think its wonderful that your subjects are the timeless stars in combination with the bristlecone pines which are the oldest living creature on Earth. Ever since I watched a documentry on the "Meathusa Tree", photographing the bristlecone pines have been a dream of mine. You have done an absolute wonderful job here!!! Thanks for sharing.

Jason Stephenson
awesome

Luca Baldassarre
This is absolutely outstanding and I fully agree with your philosophy. Only that I cannot yet put it into a photo...

Otis Otol
Wow I Love this Shot!

Jason Eadie
A great star trail example. J.

Geoff Ault
Star Trails I like the fact that the tree leans toward the star circles, it adds to the spirituality of the scene. Beautiful photo.

Adam Dover
? I love your photograph. You have inspired me. I have a question though. Why did you shoot it on 400? Ok, one more question. To create this star trail effect, you point the camera in the direction or the star Polaris? If not, please fill me in. Nice work.

James .
Yes indeed, 5000 year old trees merit some serious photography. I saw the program on PBS about these: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/methuselah/ I too would like to get some photos of them, perhaps this summer. Thanks for sharing.

Antonio Quinones
Excellent. Do you sell prints of this picture? Please reply by e-mail. Thanks

Lost Coyote
sorry, i don't sell my work anymore. i got tired of doing that.

Enrique Rodriguez
WOW! Great Shot!!

Jamie Bodie
awesome! This photo stands alone without explanation but reading your ideas about it gives me and even greater appreciation of the symbolism. All of your photos have a great fluidity to them.. very impressive!

Alex Webster
Enlarged? This is an amazing shot, regardless of the medium. To see that you shot it 4X5 is out of this world. I'd love to see this printed at 5'X 7'or so. Definitely an image that would benefit from large scale printing.

Mark McLaughlin
Great shot, the trees make it work. When first I saw this image, I saw the star trails as Eternity's phonographic record with the tree leaning in as the arm bringing the needle to play the music of the spheres. Your text comments nicely underline the theme.

todd schoenbaum
Really nice! I recently tried this myself at nearby Death Valley, to no avail, selenium toned the neg, again... to no avail. Nice work again!

Todd Schoenbaum
Celluloid and Silver

Ann Dream
comment Great light and shadow!

Andrew Dessert
Response To Star Trails - Ancient Bristlecone Forest by xc coyote Superb image and explanation. This should easily be the size of a billboard.

Antonio Baiano
Response to Star Trails - Ancient Bristlecone Forest by xc coyote I fully agree with your philosophy, we occupy just few seconds in the scale of times...it's a pity that SOME people don't even consider that. A boring technical question: the ground, trees details, did they come out only for the long exposure? I imagine it was really dark...When I was in the australian desert, I tried a similar exposure, but only for a couple of hours. Apart the light of my caravan, everything was black...and the sky and the stars absolutely magnific.

Dario Alejandro Guzik
I just love this picture Simply... wow!!! When I started taking star trail photos I did it like an experiment, and I must confes... I never payed much atention to the foreground. Now looking at your picture I realize it makes a difference. After looking at your picture I feel like going out to take some :P These hollydays were frustrating about that.,... Whenever I was in a dark place, the sky was all covered (and sometimes even raining) and when it was clear, I was in a really "lighty" place. Here in Buenos Aires you have to go far to be away from all the city light.

Andreas Holmström
Response to Star Trails - Ancient Bristlecone Forest by xc coyote Looks great, but I miss a splash of color in it.

Moe Shamseddine
Response to Star Trails - Ancient Bristlecone Forest by xc coyote This photo is simply one of the best photos I've ever seen in my life, excellent work!!

Martijn Leensen
Response to Star Trails - Ancient Bristlecone Forest by xc coyote Congrats with this picture. Very nice, with an inspiring foreground. But it also has some 'scientific' value. It shows very nicely the movement of the earth in space. I am a science teacher, and could very much use this image during my activities.

Lenny Kessler-Vaschetti
Brilliant ! I am happy to discover you and this photo. It is great ! Perfect. I love it... Appart from that, nothing else to say, except it is nice to see that 4x5 can still be used with originality. Thanks for sharing, Lenny

Wayne Melia
Response to Star Trails - Ancient Bristlecone Forest by xc coyote Wonderfull piece of work; both as a technical masterpiece and a visual portrayal of your sentiments.
BTW I reccomend viewers adjust their browsers to minimize clutter around it - in IE6 I hid status bar, and pressed F11 to give full screen view.

Carl Root
Response to Star Trails - Ancient Bristlecone Forest by xc coyote The exposure of the foreground is quite remarkable. I am curious about the light source. . . . . moonlight? post-sunset? pre-sunrise? . . . and also about the choice of 400 film. The separation of the trees is carefully done, and I assume you set this up well before sunset.

Weston Harries
Response to Star Trails - Ancient Bristlecone Forest by xc coyote The choice of black and white doesn't do much for me. Having done a lot of star trail photography myself, one of the most interesting things I find about it is that the color of the stars varies so much. From red to green to bright white, even blue. Otherwise, the foreground objects and dark location were a good choice.

Michael Le
Beautiful picture One question, how is it that you can walk through the picture and not show up? I would have thought you would have shown up as a blur. I've seen and heard this before in other pictures but I just don't understand technically how it works. I also understand that in some long exposure night photographs that the photographer will use a spotlight on the foreground for a few minutes just so that it will show up. How is this different than having a person in the picture for a bit. Thanks.

Greg Rowan
Response to Star Trails - Ancient Bristlecone Forest by xc coyote Just shared your beautiful photograph with my 12 year old son. He now understands what a time exposure is! Great work...

Eric Zimmerman
Response to Star Trails - Ancient Bristlecone Forest by xc coyote Michael Le, the reason that he wouldn't show up in the image is that he was only there for a fraction of a second during an 8-hour exposure. So the fraction of the light he blocked in any one area was something like one twenty-thousandth. Hardly enough of a difference to be visible on film. As for illuminating the foreground in some other time exposures, it's true that the light would only be on for a small fraction of the exposure time. But a flashlight on the sand is many thousands of times brighter than starlight, so if done right the total light cast by the flashlight over a few seconds could be comparable to the light cast by the stars in a few hours. There's also reciprocity failure which enhances the flashlight even more, but that's a technical detail which doesn't change the basic argument.

Hrishikesh Keshavan
Response to Star Trails - Ancient Bristlecone Forest by xc coyote I was wondering why is the photo brighter towards the bottom. Is it sunrise?

Landrum Kelly
Response to Star Trails - Ancient Bristlecone Forest by xc coyote "Is it sunrise?" Not unless the sun rises in the north. Was there an urban area over the horizon some miles away? This is really well-done, and the black and white works very well, in my opinion.

Kenneth Logan
Response to Star Trails - Ancient Bristlecone Forest by xc coyote The subtle interplay of color with shape, muted pastels in the star trails adding to the aspects of the width of trails, would not be a negative, in my estimation. Too much color would be a negative, but I don't think that would have been an issue. But it is simply an aesthetic choice, and I respect the B&W choice, especially as it is close to how the unaided eye would view such a scene with only pinpoints for stars and with, at best, muted dark outlines for the trees (if at dusk or dawn, of course). One possibility: do your eight-hour-or-so shoot in color, then convert to B&W in PS so that you approach the best of both the color and the B&W aspects. You cannot convert B&W to realistic color, but you can go the other way, though some may say that the PS B&W is inferior to "the real thing".

Robert Wersan
Response to Star Trails - Ancient Bristlecone Forest by xc coyote Glad I looked at the large view as I am generally ho-hum about star trail photos, although I admit they are fun to make and interesting to look at. This one does take the cake, though. You must have frozen your watchamacallits off, though. Even in the summer at the 8000 ft level in the White Mts. of CA it's not that toasty up that high, and it's still a good hike to the summit. When I camped there a few years ago I found I'd tied my tent to a tree containing a mountain bluebird nest within and spent some hours watching mamma and pappa bird taking turns catching insects for the brood. Sorry no pix, just memories. Including recollections of the cute "friendly" ground squirrels begging and stealing our food along with the signs warning us that they may have been carrying rabies. Ah, the joys of camping in the mts.

Dave Nitsche
Response to Star Trails - Ancient Bristlecone Forest by xc coyote OK, I gotta ask. All that time to think about it, set it up, wait, freeze, etc.... Why is it running uphill?

Lost Coyote
Response to Star Trails - Ancient Bristlecone Forest by xc coyote > One question, how is it that you can walk through the picture and not show up? I would have thought you would have shown up as a blur. I've seen and heard this before in other pictures but I just don't understand technically how it works michael, the reason that i could walk right through that image (twice) and not show up is because of the long exposure time RELATIVE to the amount of time i walked right through the picture. if you perform a mathmatical integration of light striking the film at any point on the film, the amount of time photons that are reflected off me which strike the film simply do not register - let alone, the fact that i was in motion. had i stoof there for 5 minutes in front of the camera, you would then see an obvious "break" in the star trails where i was standing. also, had i had a flashlight with me, that would have REALLY shown up and destroyed the image.

Lost Coyote
Response to Star Trails - Ancient Bristlecone Forest by xc coyote > I have a question though. Why did you shoot it on 400? Ok, one more question. To create this star trail effect, you point the camera in the direction or the star Polaris? adam, the reason that i had to shoot this on 400 speed is because my large format lenses do not stop up any further than f5.6. for that reason alone, 100 speed, 50 speed simply does not offer enough sensitivity. in 35mm, with an f1.4 or f1.8 lens, 50 speed film works.... and yes, i pointed the camera at polaris - well... approximately so :) i guaged where it would be by the position of the setting sun when i set the camera up.

Jeffrey Rodgers
Response to Star Trails - Ancient Bristlecone Forest by xc coyote As an astronomer, photographer, and artist, I relate to many aspects of this photo. The long exposure shows the relative paths of the stars, circling the polar axis (an illusion, of course... we are the ones doing most of the moving) and this gives me reference, a feeling for my place on the Earth, visualizing the sphere... the axis... always pointing North (another illusion, there is no direcion in space... no up, no down) When I looked at your photo a second time, another thought came to mind: the trees seem to be reaching, trying to follow the moving stars. There are many things about this photo that play on your sense of time, space, and direction. Instead of thinking about your position relative to the center of the Earth, and the imaginary line that defines up and down, try visualizing where you are at on this giant globe, spinning, and defining another imaginary line (polar axis) that points North. Go out at night and point to the North Star... your arm is now defining that same line, parallel to the Earth's axis (Polaris, the north star, is actually close to true North, but being slightly off, makes it's own small circle star trail)Also, for those of you in the Southern Hemishere, the axis extends South, but the idea is the same. About the technique used for this shot... I believe the forground was illuminated by ambient light (skylight, and to small extent, starlight) I also think this may have been part of the reason for using 400 speed film. It might not have worked with slower film. This was a very long exposure, and you might be suprised to know that of this had been done closer to city lights (it called Light Pollution) the sky would have totally blown out. Even darker locations have enough skylight to build up after several hours exposure, and you might also be suprised that after spending several hours watching a meteor shower (total darkness, except for starlight) and letting my eyes "dark adapt", I could see good enough to walk around without a flashlight... just like the song by John Denver... "The shadow from the starlight is softer than a lullabye... " (from Rocky Mountain High) Oh, one more thing... I usually like color for star trail shots, but this one works just fine without color.

Lost Coyote
Response to Star Trails - Ancient Bristlecone Forest by xc coyote > I was wondering why is the photo brighter towards the bottom. Is it sunrise? nope. the exposure went through a few hours of moonrise however. also, the rocks in the foreground (i am not a geologist so i don't know if this is right) are like a whitish quartz something or other. also, in the printing, i do a fair amount of overall dodging.

Lost Coyote
Response to Star Trails - Ancient Bristlecone Forest by xc coyote > This one does take the cake, though. You must have frozen your watchamacallits off, though. Even in the summer at the 8000 ft level in the White Mts. of CA it's not that toasty up that high, and it's still a good hike to the summit. When I camped there a few years ago I found I'd tied my tent to a tree containing a mountain bluebird nest within and spent some hours watching mamma and pappa bird taking turns catching insects for the brood. Sorry no pix, just memories. Including recollections of the cute "friendly" ground squirrels begging and stealing our food along with the signs warning us that they may have been carrying rabies. Ah, the joys of camping in the mts. it's these memories that matter the most sometimes... many of which the camera can never do justice for... or even catch for that matter. as for it being cold up there, well, yes, it can be. but the day i took this shot, it was a rather pleasant indian summer day and did not get all that cold at night. also, the temperature in the morning when i went back to the camera to turn it off may have not caught my perception, as my mind was more focused on getting over to the camera before any sunrise alpenglow started to "blow out the sky" in the negative... so i was walking rather quickly. i do remember, that after tearing down the camera and walking back to my truck, it was not all that cold tho. i took the picture in the patriarch grove just under 12,000 feet.

Lost Coyote
Response to Star Trails - Ancient Bristlecone Forest by xc coyote > When I looked at your photo a second time, another thought came to mind: the trees seem to be reaching, trying to follow the moving stars. jeff, check out the post i left titled "ovals & circles".... i got more philosophical in that post and it's sort of in line with what you are saying.... as for the statement "we're doing most of the moving"... well, that kind of knocked the socks right off the "man is at the center of the universe" idea way back when - haha. Actually tho, we, the earth, the sun, the solar system, the milky way... everything is in dynamic motion collectively... so in that vein, we're not doing most of the moving but rather, are part of all of what's moving - the expansion of the universe.... yes, those trees do reach for the stars, especially the one called "sun"... the one that gives the trees the capacity to make their own food.

HUGO TEIXEIRA
Response to Star Trails - Ancient Bristlecone Forest by xc coyote What everyone else has said goes for me too. What I wanted to share were the comments of a coworker who isn't as versed in the photographic arts as those who frequent this forum. "What is that?" "The stars." Blank stares. "What do you mean the stars? How did they do that?" "You just take a really long picture all night, and the motion of the earth is captured on film." "Wow." Lots of oos and ahhs. This is one of those images that everyone will stop and look at at and wonder a little. Very well done.

Lost Coyote
Response to Star Trails - Ancient Bristlecone Forest by xc coyote hugo, you can have fun with that - you can say that he rotated the camera and then watch their brains churn away trying to figure that one out. i remember at an arts & crafts show awhile back, i had this star trail image (looking west) and there were some of the star trails that had wiggles in them. the reason they had wiggles is because my film (keep in mind it's 4x5 square inches) does not lie flat on the film plate holder as the temperature changes. the film will tend to warp... and so the position of the film moves around with respect to the focal plane of the camera leaving star tracks that are not exactly linear in parts of the film.... but i didn't feel like explaining all of that so i just said this: "you know that the earth has earthquakes, right? well, that star was having a starquake"... and they walked away thinking about starquakes - heheheheheheohahahaha

Lost Coyote
starquakes for hugo here's the shot i was telling you about hugo. the digitalization really reduces the quality of the image but see if you can find several of the "starquake" star tracks...

http://f1.pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/sierra_stardust/ detail?.dir=/a+visual+poem&.dnm=total+solitude.jpg

G .
Response to Star Trails - Ancient Bristlecone Forest by xc coyote Coyote, that's an outstanding collection of photos you pointed us to with the yahoo link. I always loved your aspen shots, and have admired your work from afar many times. Congrats on this memorable capture, and on a wonderful portfolio. What an adventure you share with your viewers.

fabio bozuffi
Response to Star Trails - Ancient Bristlecone Forest by xc coyote Fantastic - great effect. More surprising, a lot of interesting mind work around it, and the first one i find here with a deep sense of humour.. Well done! Someone knows if a picture like this can be done with a 35mm artifact, or the quality decreases too much? I'm very far from 4x5, at the moment...

Kenneth Logan
Why running uphill? Someone posted the question about why the shot runs uphill. The ground does, indeed, seem to be not parallel with the bottom of the frame. In my opinion, that adds much to the dynamism of the shot, and gives a great counterbalance to the lean of the tree that is closest to the camera. Also, from the same vantage point, had the ground not seemed to run uphill (to the right, I mean), then that same tree in the forefront also would have not appeared to lean as much: again, not as dynamic! A level horizon or groundline is far from being always ideal.

Lost Coyote
Response to Star Trails - Ancient Bristlecone Forest by xc coyote > Someone posted the question about why the shot runs uphill. The ground does, indeed, seem to be not parallel with the bottom of the frame. i saw this post earlier today and didn't understand what he meant by running up hill but now i do as i find myself having a good little laugh (actually, a large laugh). OF COURSE IT RUNS UPHILL because i was shooting the scene in the mountains situated on a gradual slope! and thank goodness for terrain; just think how boring the world would be if all mountains were as flat as the tops of the oceans on a calm summer day.... unless of course, you like flat wetlands full of mosquitos.

Tom Sperduto
Response to Star Trails - Ancient Bristlecone Forest by xc coyote "because for this particular image, i am more interested in what it says from a spiritual, emotional, or symbolic perspective." I was so moved by this statement. It reminds me of why I take pictures. It also reminds me of why I frequent this site. Congrats on a great image, and thanks for the wake up call.

Lee Crump
Response to Star Trails - Ancient Bristlecone Forest by xc coyote Wonder-full! Just think, the light eminated from some of these stars at the same time the multi-millennia old tree was a seed. What a wonder-full capture of time.

HUGO TEIXEIRA
Starquakes? Starquakes? HA! That's a good one. Might have to steal that line some day.

christian robotti
Response to Star Trails - Ancient Bristlecone Forest by xc coyote how refreshing!!! Technical and Composition skills. cfr art for arts sake

Jeremiah Boucher
Response to Star Trails - Ancient Bristlecone Forest by xc coyote Brilliant. Inpiring. Masterfully executed.

Is this image only possible a certain time of the year? Did you center on a known star that would remain relatively fixed?

My feeble attempts at stair trail photography, while educational to me, just don't compare! World's apart

Alexander Chubb
Response to Star Trails - Ancient Bristlecone Forest by xc coyote This is a good pix but it is an old idea. what makes it dfferent from others like it is the forground subject in this case a dead tree. its interesting from technical veiwpoints but not very interesting any other way in my opinion.

Simon Millward
Response to Star Trails - Ancient Bristlecone Forest by xc coyote This is photography at its best ... knowledge of light, subject, film and equipment ... and to top it off an absolutely wonderful composition!

Let's have some more pictures like this on Photo of the Week!

dhrubo gupta
Response to Star Trails - Ancient Bristlecone Forest by xc coyote Is the central point the North Star - if so how did you figure this out ?

Lucas Jarvis
Response to Star Trails - Ancient Bristlecone Forest by xc coyote Where on the planet do you get this cirlce effect? I would think that with the rotation of the earth, one would have to be on one of the two poles to get the stars in a circular pattern like that. And if you were on the equater, straight lines. But I must be missing something in the way I'm thinking. Could someone please explain this to me.

Sam F
Response to Star Trails > Is the central point the North Star - if so how did you figure this out ? You could either wait until you see the stars, find the North Star by knowing the constellations and then take your picture, or you could just aim your camera north and know that the North Star has to be somewhere over there. The North Star is really pretty easy to find. > Where on the planet do you get this cirlce effect? I would think that with the rotation of the earth, one would have to be on one of the two poles to get the stars in a circular pattern like that. Lucas, anywhere that you can see the North Star you would get that circle effect, which translates to most of the northern hemisphere. If you are at a latitude of 20 degrees, you'd see the north star 20 degrees above the horizon. Since the North Star remains stationary, and since we revolve about on our axis, we see the rest of the stars revolving around it. You'd get the same circle effect in the Southern Hemisphere, but without any central point, since there is no equivalent to the North Star in the south. It's all just luck, and in several thousand years Polaris won't even be the North Star anymore, given the slight wobble of the Earth.

Christopher Nisperos
Response to Star Trails - Ancient Bristlecone Forest by xc coyote Thanks for your excellent photograph. Great work. Being completely ignorant about star-trial photography, I have a question whose answer is perhaps obvious to others: how did you predict where the center of the circle would be? Was it by chance? Sorry if my question seems stupid!

Landrum Kelly
Response to Star Trails - Ancient Bristlecone Forest by xc coyote Christopher, if you live in the northern hemisphere, the center of the circle will always be due north, and its height above the horizon will equal your latitude.

Roger Bergeron
if someone traveled into this center.... question: if someone went in through the center, where would they come out?

Mark Ahlman
Response to Star Trails - Ancient Bristlecone Forest by xc coyote they would pop out of the butt of Polaris, the Dog Star. That is, if they don't burn up

Andre Brossel
Response to Star Trails - Ancient Bristlecone Forest by xc coyote If you are going to try something like this fantastic photo remember that you must be in a really, but really, dark site. Otherwise, even the weak light of a distant city will ruin the shot. 7/7.

Troy Hamon
Response to Star Trails - Ancient Bristlecone Forest by xc coyote I have never seen a better star photo. Great job making it a photo with depth and intensity, and not just star trails.

M.M. Meehan
Response to Star Trails - Ancient Bristlecone Forest by xc coyote Congrats on you POW. I need this in my highest rated photos page for reference to all the good information you have provided. Thanks so much. I must get out and try this again also. My first attempt gave me a great wide streak. I had left my camera out for about 10 hours. I had no idea of how to calculate the time exposure to use. :))

sean toner
Response to Star Trails - Ancient Bristlecone Forest by xc coyote Absolutely love it. You say the exposure was eight hours. Would you mind sharing the film speed and f-stop as well? thanks, sean

Charlette Hannah
My fave My favourite star trail picture as yet! Wicked

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