You don’t always have the right gear when an idea or inspiration hits you.  I had a great Christmas break up in Flagstaff, AZ where I felt I had to capture this night sky scene.  The only problem is, without the right gear, I couldn’t have taken the shot I had put together in my head. 

Flagstaff Star Trails.jpg

Now, I’m not one to complain, but this would have been a waste of everyone’s time without a shutter release chord, and I knew I’d need a beer or two during this timeframe.  So the MacGyver in me came out and I altered my rig slightly to get the final shot.

My first star trail rig included:

  • Tripod & camera (obviously)
  • A penny
  • A bobby pin
  • Electrical tape
  • Scotch painter’s tape

The bobby pin and penny allowed for a pressure point to be placed on the shutter release, while the two types of tape allowed me to get that sucker taped up long enough for the exposure.  

For all the tech nuts out there, settings were - Nikon D3100, Tamron 24-70mm F/2.8 shot at 24mm @ F/2.8 for 40 - 42 minutes @ 100 ISO.  There are some simpler ways of doing this, (30 second exposures compiled together in post), but the challenge of a 40 minute exposure really excited me.

The best camera is the one that’s with you.
— Chase Jarvis //

This shot fell a little between the "necessity is the mother of invention" and "the best camera is the one that’s with you" (said perfectly by Chase Jarvis), which is where I strive to keep my creative eye.

What have you done to capture that shot? Leave a comment below or send it direct to @Collin_Reed on Twitter!