Capturing a Lighthouse Starfield


Here I take 287 photos of a light house to make a time lapse, and as a bonus, a star trail photo… Two projects for the price of one!



(Straight Out Of Camera)

Lighthouse Starfield


Nikon D810
Rokinon 14mm f/2.8
2500 ISO
287 very similar shots



Lighthouse Starfield

  • Exposure and contrast raised
  • Highlights raised
  • Shadows, whites and blacks lowered


Lighthouse Starfield

  • Lens Corrections
  • Used the adjustment brush on the trees and lighthouse to raise their exposure



Lighthouse Starfield Startrail

  • Layered 287 X 36MP Photos, set the top 286 to “Lighten”
  • Waited for my computer to melt through my desk while trying to handle a 30 GB Photoshop document comprised of 287 photos with a resolution of 7360 X 1912. That is 10 BILLION pixels. A lot of electrons were harmed in the making of this film.
  • Masked out any planes, shooting stars, or alien vessels


Lighthouse Starfield Startrail

  • Changed the levels to accentuate the trails



Lighthouse Starfield Startrail

  • Used the “Adaptive wide angle” filter to straighten the light house, would have been easier to line it up during shooting, maybe next time. While we are talking about next time, I should bring some pruning shears for the shrubs.
  • Lowered the saturation on the red tree tops
  • Cloned out the shrub that was against the lighthouse


Past Mistake

Lighthouse Starfield Startrail

I made this photo first, but after several hours heating up my basement with my computer while my air conditioner almost caught fire, I realized that the photos for the time lapse didn’t make a good “light trail” photo. You can see how it becomes to dense in the second half of the time lapse video. I bit the bullet and re-edited the original 287 files in Lightroom and started from scratch. Thats the up side to shooting RAW.




You want to see every star in the milky way for a time lapse, but when you spin all that over time, you need less stars that are brighter.



Other Thoughts

Lighthouse Starfield Startrail

It was much easier to fake it in Photoshop, like in this shot, but somehow the “Real Deal” is much more satisfying.

Like the man said “Ill sleep when I’m dead.”