Moab Star Trails

||, Travel|Moab Star Trails

Moab Star Trails

By |2019-01-12T15:21:18+00:00May 13th, 2011|Categories: Photography, Travel|Tags: , |11 Comments

Last week I went to Moab and spent a lot of time in photographing in Arches National Park. (Here’s a post with a cool video/timelapse I put together of the trip.) I really enjoy photographing the stars, and spent an evening doing just that … and this was the result.

I honestly got pretty lucky with the composition of this image, since you can’t really see how you are framing things, even with excellent night vision. (Which would be a really cool feature in cameras, wouldn’t it? Night vision LCD monitors? I digress…) I knew the general vicinity of the North Star, positioned my camera with a nice silhouette and let the shutter stay open for about twenty minutes.

I could really get into this kind of photography. As a kid I always dreamed of getting a motorized star-tracking mount to use for long exposures of the sky, capturing detail without any star-trails or movement. I even took a trip to a planetarium and was able to get some cool moon and planet photogs with my old Nikon F4. I’m not sure why I love the stars so much … must be the romantic in me, or maybe I just miss seeing a huge, non-light-polluted sky. Either way, stars are rad.

About the Author:

Nicole S. Young is a professional photographer and published author whose love of photography and teaching has grown into an online business where she creates training materials and resources for other photographers. Nicole is best known for her books on food photography, but is widely versed in a variety of photographic genres, including landscape, travel, lifestyle, and even underwater photography. You can learn more about Nicole's work on her website,


  1. Jeremy Hall May 13, 2011 at 8:41 am - Reply

    I agree, the night sky & stars really are rad :) Toughest thing is getting those super long exposures set up, then getting something wrong and having to start over. You nailed it.

  2. Crystal May 13, 2011 at 8:45 am - Reply

    This came out fantastic! I hope you get to do more like it! Did you just do the one or did you try others?

  3. Howard J May 13, 2011 at 9:35 am - Reply

    This looks great Nicole, I agree that the toughest part is getting a nice foreground framed up in the dark. I like the idea of a night vision LCD mode! I’m eagerly anticipating the arrival of a new T-ring so I can use my new DSLR on my 10″ telescope – Hello Moon and planetary shots! I’ve got a mounting bracket on the top so I can take guided long exposure shots, the tough part is getting a good alignment with the celestial north pole so you don’t get star drift, lots to try out this summer I’m very excited… Our local Astronomy club has a nice gallery here: Mine shows a few taken a focally with my old point & shoot, here’s a local guru who uses a DSLR

  4. Stephen May 13, 2011 at 11:29 am - Reply

    You can get even longer exposures without all the noise if you shoot multiple exposures one right after the other then stitch it together.

    I shot this picture with 111 images each at 30 second exposures. Just put the camera on continuous mode and use the lock on the cable release. You then stitch it together in Photoshop. I used Dr. Browns stack-o-matic script from

  5. Wedding Photography Liverpool May 16, 2011 at 4:11 am - Reply

    These is a lovely shot, very strong. Thanks for sharing with us!

  6. Kim at the Beehive Blog May 21, 2011 at 9:27 am - Reply

    Oooooohhh this is simply breathtaking! Included you in my Queen Bee Picks of the Week – wonderful job!

  7. Erin Carr May 22, 2011 at 6:14 pm - Reply

    Hi there, I found your blog via a tweet from the UFMA. Lovely stuff. I just wanted to let you know I mentioned your blog in mine. I hope you don’t mind.

    Thanks for the beautiful photos.

    • Nicole May 23, 2011 at 1:34 pm - Reply

      I don’t mind at all … thanks for the mention :)

  8. genie June 3, 2011 at 4:25 pm - Reply

    WOW!!! This is an awesome shot. I am truly amazed with this phenomenal capture. It is so exciting. Would love to give it a try. My question to you is…did you hold the shutter open for the 20 minutes? I do not think my arthritic hands would let me do it. I am just so impressed with this picture. Stunning.

    • Nicole June 3, 2011 at 4:40 pm - Reply

      I used a cable release, it allows you to connect to the camera so you’re not actually pushing the button. It will lock and keep the shutter open for long exposures. It also prevents camera shake. :)

  9. Dragonstar June 5, 2011 at 12:53 am - Reply

    Came over from Wayne Woodruff. This is a shot to dream about!

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