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Star Trails from Arthurs Seat

Star Trails from Arthurs Seat

Yesterday I said I was going to try and do more long exposure star trail photography.  Well, the opportunity arose shortly afterwards.

My son needed to be picked up from Hastings at 6AM.  It was a clear night, so I decided to head out a few hours earlier for some night photography.  I went to Arthurs Seat on the Mornington Peninsula, which was only around 25 minutes from where I had to be at 6AM.

I’ve already written about it over on Vic Pics, but suffice to say I’m really happy with how it turned out.  Especially the light trails from the vessels heading to Melbourne along the main shipping channel.

Read my Vic Pics post here – 

Peninsula Star Trails from Arthurs Seat by Simon Yeo on Flickr

Quick video of Olympus Live Composition

Quick video of Olympus Live Composition

My wife calls it a photo drive.  Basically I chuck the camera in the car and head off somewhere to take photos.  I might be gone for a couple of hours, or all day.

I went for a photo drive a couple of weeks ago and headed west.  My first stop was Stawell, the last was Wycheproof, with lots small towns in-between.  All up I was gone for 23 hours – yes, it was a long day!  My only regret was that I did this on the Friday before going back to work after the Christmas break, and I haven’t had much time since then to process most of the pictures taken on the day.  The exception was the night time long exposure shots from Wycheproof.

Live Composition is a mode in Olympus OM-D cameras that allows you to stack multiple long exposures in camera to create stunning star and light trail photos.  I was excited to process the Live Composition shots from Wycheproof, where the railway runs along the middle of the main street.  I featured a couple of those Live Composition shots on my Vic Pics blog, and they also got a good reaction on Flickr.

I thought I would share a quick video from my phone taken during one of the hour long Live Composition shots, which shows the multiple exposures stacking and composing the end shot on the camera’s rear screen.

I really like these long exposure composition shots, which bring out amazing star trails.  I’ve got a few ideas for possible locations, so when the skies are clear, I’ll be off on another photo drive for some Live Composition photography.

Star trail spiral over Pakenham

Star trail spiral over Pakenham

I’m not sure why I didn’t blog about this at the time, but almost two weeks ago we had clear skies in Melbourne so I decided to have another crack at photographing star-trails.

Star trails are created by several long exposure photos, blended together to showcase the movement of the Earth. Once upon a time, star trails would need hours of work in PhotoShop. These days more and more new cameras have this creative feature available “in-camera”, including my Olympus OM-D.

There were a couple of failed attempts at star trails on the night, thanks to poor low-light focus and looking in the wrong direction.  I’ve then used the smart-phone app called SkyVew for iPhone to see the best direction to point my camera.

This picture is the end result, 60 x 60 second exposures (lets call it a one hour exposure), looking South over Pakenham.


Star Trails over Pakenham

Karla and the steam train

Karla and the steam train

Steam Train

Twice a year SteamRail Victoria run a tour to Traralgon from where passengers can visit the snow fields or other Gippsland attractions.  The tour runs from Melbourne on a good old fashion steam train, consisting of two powerful locomotives pulling a collection of heritage passenger carriages.  The “Snow Train” runs on the main railway line, staying out of the way of regular metro and country passenger services (and probably some freight trains as well), stopping only briefly at a some of the major stations along the way.

Like her big brothers before her, my seven year old daughter, Karla, has become fascinated with steam trains.  She saw this year’s first snow train a few weeks ago with her Mum (while I was in hospital) at Tynong Station, where it doesn’t stop.  I promised Karla that If I was out of hospital I would take her to see the second run at Pakenham, where it does stop for a couple of minutes.


I wrote a couple of months ago how Karla likes making videos for YouTube.  When I said we were going to see the steam train, naturally she asked me to make a video.  The clip embedded in this blog post shows Karla telling the camera the train is on the way, how much smoke and steam it makes and how “cool” the steam train is!


Later in the evening we went back to Pakenham Railway Station to see the “Snow Train” steam train on it’s way back to Melbourne.  This time I thought i’d get some long exposure night shots of the locomotives steaming at the end of the platform.  I setup the camera and tripod across the road from the station, in-between the tracks (but still safe within the pedestrian fence).  We could feel the steam as the train gathered speed right beside us, Karla thought that was even better that watching from the platform in the morning.

I’m pretty happy with the pictures too.

Steam Train at Pakenham
Steam Train at Pakenham