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Photographing Star Trails: Part 4

Post Processing of Star Trail Images

  •  Here’s my workflow post-processing of Star Trail images. I empty the storage card of all the cameras onto the desktop, and into the solid state drive so that the processing of a large number of files is quick. There are always many sets of star trails that Neelam & me have captured on site. The next step is to browse through all the images and identify the sets of star trails. I shift the separate sets of trails into different sub folders with proper names. At this stage it is important to exclude the test images that have been clicked in between sets. Usually it is seen that people incorporate the test frames while making the final image, these test frames contribute to the image in a disjointed or even shifted manner. You also need to eliminate the test shots of various exposures. Only the main continuous part of the sequence should be included and all the rest should be excluded.
  •  All our original shots are always in raw format, without exception. The next step is to select a set of images and then convert the raw images into jpegs. I use Adobe Camera Raw inside Photoshop to apply changes and convert from raw images to Jpegs for the entire set of images in one go. Lightroom can be used in exactly the same manner to do the job.
    The underlying raw processing engine is actually the same for both Photoshop and Lightroom.
  •  Here are some thoughts uppermost in my mind when converting from raw to jpegs for the purposes of making a star trail
  1. I like to retain star colour by reducing highlights and increasing vibrance.
  2. I do not like too many stars in my star trail images. Too many stars form a sort of bright background in the image. I like less stars in my star trail images and towards that end I reduce the exposure, sometimes drastically up to -2.
  3. If the location was in or near a city, with bright lights in the frame, then I drastically reduce the highlights as well as the whites.
  • After the jpegs are obtained from the Adobe raw conversion, I browse through all of the converted images for problems. Usually there are aeroplanes in multitude of images. If I want to remove planes from the images, then all the images with planes need to be opened in Photoshop and planes removed using the Spot Healing Brush Tool. You need to reduce the brush size and brush along the path of the plane to remove the aeroplane streak. Each of the image which contains a plane streak needs to be edited in Photoshop. Since the planes are in separate images, the stars don’t get affected in the final star trail image. Here is an image from San Francisco with a number of planes in it. Below you can see an image from New York where all the planes have been removed from each of the sub-frame.

  •  The next step is to blend all the jpeg images into one. I use the software known as “Startrail” which is available free for download from It is very simple software and does a quick job of processing the star trail image. If you happen to use a mac, then you can use Starstax which is a similar software. Startrail and Starstax have a couple of options like falling stars, and making frames suitable to be made into a time-lapse movie where you can see the star trails progressively grow frame by frame.



  •  You can easily blend together all the frames of a star trail in Photoshop. Use these functions of Photoshop:
  1. To load all the jpegs as layers, use – File > Scripts > Load Files into Stack
  2. To blend together all layers – select all layers in the layers panel and change the blending mode of all the layers to lighten.
  3. Flatten image to make a single layer – Layer > Flatten Imageo It’s that simple.
  • Some additional post-processing that I do in star trails is to remove the gaps in the trails. For removing the gap I use the command in Photoshop – Filter > Stylize > Diffuse(Anisotropic).



  •  Sometimes I like to sharpen the star trails, especially when shooting in city conditions, the star trails are overwhelmed by the city lights, sharpening the trail brightens the trails and become more visible. I use this command in Photoshop – Filter > Sharpen > Unsharp Mask. Generally, I like to use this command on a separate layer and then change the blending mode of this layer to lighten to remove the dark halos around the trails.

I sincerely hope that this essay in four parts and the associated images have inspired you to take up star trail photography. The process is simple and results fascinating!


If you have any further questions please do email me at
Twice a year I conduct an astrophotography workshop “Sky Photo Trip”. In this workshop, all the possible equipment is provided to the participants. The location of the workshop is in the Himalayas. The next workshop is scheduled for 22 November 2019. Do consider joining the workshop.

For more info, you can join the Star Trails Photography Workshop

Ajay Talwar is one of the most prolific transient sky events photographers in India. Ajay travels with all his astrophotography gear to all across India, especially the Himalayas, places like high altitude Indian Astronomical Observatory at Hanle, Ladakh, high peaks in Himachal Pradesh. His interest in dark skies also takes him to the white desert in northwestern India. Ajay Talwar regularly holds astrophotography workshops, including practical programs in the Himalayas where participants are provided the necessary equipment to photograph the sky. Through his TWAN contribution, Ajay hopes to photograph many of India’s heritage under the starry sky. 

7 Must Watch Photography Movies

The majority of the photography we are presented to, today come shaped web-based social networking. Be that as it may, on the off chance that you need to be an expert you ought to observe where it is that you devour your insight. In the event that you are an espresso expert, you don’t drink Nescafé. In the event that you need to be a picture taker, your motivation isn’t internet based life. Try not to pass up chances to meet extraordinary specialists, yet as it isn’t constantly conceivable, connect and begin with their work in movies. Here are the 7 Must Watch Photography Movies every photographer should watch.

There have been numerous awesome movies throughout the years, obviously, however, the greater part of these movies are effectively accessible on YouTube and DVD, while others may be elusive however are most likely justified regardless of the exertion.

  • High Art (1998)

    Pic Credits: Google

As an intern in a magazine house, the film’s heroine falls in love with a drug addict lesbian photographer. The two seek to exploit each other’s career. Brilliantly shot, this movie is an independent art house film with a great concept.


  • Blow-Up (1966)

Pic Credits: Google

A London based fashion photographer ended up capturing a murder on his camera which he was not able to understand unless he developed his negatives and starts putting together the pieces of the puzzle.  A true classic 60’s movie, this is definitely a must watch for all the photographers.


  • The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928)

Pic Credits: Google

This great quiet movie which highlights Maria Falconetti as Joan of Arc takes after her preliminary and her inescapable end. Half of the motion picture is nearly in close-ups which makes gives the movie a personal collaboration with the group of onlookers.

The motion picture itself is basically similar to a book of feelings. One of our top picks scenes is when Joan was insulted and derided with a straw crown and a bolt by 3 men.


  • Annie Leibovitz: Life through a Lens (2007)

Pic Credits: Google

This narrative investigates the powerful vocation of famous picture taker Annie Leibovitz, from her most punctual aesthetic endeavors to her storied residency at Rolling Stone and Vanity Fair magazines and past. Personally taped by Annie’s sister Barbara Leibovitz, the program highlights interviews with the craftsman as she works at home, alongside telling bits of knowledge from a significant number of the famous people she has shot, for example, Mick Jagger.


  • The Bang Bang Club (2010)

Pic Credits: Google

In view of a genuine story, the movie annals the lives of four youthful battle photographic artists, who put their lives in danger to catch the photos of the last long periods of politically-sanctioned racial segregation in South Africa.

Also Read: 7 Must watch documentaries for photographers

  • Under Fire(1983)

    Pic Credits: Google

A technically sound systematic cinematic characterization of a wartime journalist, Under Fire, is a movie that covers the last days of corrupt Somozoa regime in Nicaragua before it falls to a popular revolution in 1979. The story involves the love triangle of three journalists who are intrigued by the political situation in Nicaragua.


  • City of God(2002)

    Pic Credits: Google

The streets of Brazil witnesses the growth of two boys, as one struggles to become a photographer. City of God is considered as one of the best modern photography movies.



Written by: Siddhika Prajapati

A personal blogger, being a writing enthusiast, qualifies with a proactive attitude, and a strong work ethic, and sure to be able to make a real contributor, to day to day operations of any business. Goal-oriented individual with a pleasant personality and a tenacity that knows no restrictions. A multitasking Physician Liaison considered highly ambitious, willing to meet or exceed monthly quotas and capable of maximizing brand awareness.

7 Must watch documentaries for photographers

With Saturday and Sunday arriving each week, we are quite sure that you are out of options on how to spend it. But then, waking up on a weekend and curling back to bed with a documentary to watch definitely sounds relaxing and gaining knowledge at the same time, right?

Documentaries teach a lot about cinematography and have the power to enlighten someone with information. If a photographer genuinely wants to improve his/her skill, watching a documentary related to photography will definitely help them in doing the same.

So here we are presenting 7 documentaries you can watch for fun learning while enjoying the weekends.


  1. Finding Vivian Maier (2013)

This documentary deals with the work of a nanny, Vivian Maier who was obsessed with photography but at the same time with privacy. She took 100,00 photographs and is one of the best street photographers.


  1. Bill Cunningham: New York (2010)

This documentary shows the chronicles of an eighty-year-old Bill Cunningham who has captured local fashion of New York. A pioneer street fashion photographer, he has spent his entire life in capturing the fashion.

Also Read: 5 Iconic photos of all time

  1. War Photographer (2001)

This movie is about James Natchway who is a photojournalist and has captured some moments of global conflicts. Very passionate and courageous regarding his work, James has uncovered the raw reality and brutalities of war. His lense has captured death and violence which gives a very strong message about the war without saying any words.


  1. Born into Brothels (2004)

Based on the lives of Sonagachi’s prostitutes, this documentary reveals the lives of the children living in the red light district. The movie is very inspiring and has won the Academy Award for the best documentary feature in 2005.


  1. Brief Encounters (2012)

This documentary has brought life to the mesmerizing photographs based on Gregory Crewdson’s dream. Shot over a decade, Brief Encounters is a brilliant work of creativity.


  1. Baraka (1992)

This movie is a bucket of expertly captured scenes of human lives, culture, traditions and nature found around the globe. Filmed in 23 countries, this documentary depicts an amazing work of photography.


  1. Visual Acoustics (2008)

This movie shows the life and career of world’s greatest architectural photographer, Julius Shulman. This movie is a must see for all the photographers who are seeking to learn about composition.


Written By: Shivantee Bhattacharya

Sitting with a cup of hot coffee and a good book, Shivantee finds her solace in books and words. Trying to reach the world through literature and metaphors, she feels that the fictional world is the best place to live in and thus, connects every real-life situation to the fictional world.


5 Iconic Photos Of all time

Photographs are words of poetry written by the photographers and every poetry has a different emotion to offer. Over the course of history, few photos have achieved the pinnacle of being the best remembered. Here, we have 5 iconic photos which are remembered not only for the images themselves but additionally, for what they represent, the compassion they evoke and the lessons they teach us about those moments in the history.


  1. Migrant Mother, 1936

Picture by: Google

Dorothea Lange captured the most intimate portrait during the Great Depression. The camp of ‘pea pickers’ at Resettlement Administration in Limpopo, California, caught her attention. There, she saw a hungry and desperate mother who was selling tires of her car to buy food. For survival, the children were killing birds to have a meal out of it. Dorethea took 6 photos of them. The upshot of her photograph was so strong that the government sent 20,000 pounds of food for the camp. “Migrant Mother” has become the most iconic photo of the Great Depression.


  1. Albino Boy, 1969

picture by: Google

Don Mccullin clicked the picture of a nine-year-old Albino orphan boy who was starving to death during the Biafra Famine which happened in 1967 in Biafra, the tiny West African nation. The photograph taken by the British war photographer had the most powerful effect on the government as they were bound to send pounds of food, medicine and weapons for the suffering people. Mccullin’s work left a lasting legacy as people were inspired to launch doctors without borders who will deliver emergency medical support to those suffering from war, epidemics and disasters.


  1. Boat of No Smiles, 1977

picture by: Google

More than 200,000 refugees from Vietnam were welcomed by the U.S government from 1978 to 1981, because of the photograph clicked by Eddie Adams. On Thanksgiving Day, 1977, a fishing boat containing 49 Vietnamese people was towed to the shore after several days at sea. Eddie’s attention was immediately caught by the boat and he started clicking photos. The photos were further presented to the Congress and as a result, the refugees got a place in the U.S. Therefore this photograph is one of the iconic photos.


  1. Blind, 1916

Picture By: Google

Paul Strand liked capturing people as they were, in their original state with no pretence. While documenting immigrants on New York City’s Lower East Side, he saw a women selling the newspaper. The women was not looking into the camera lens and the shot captured by Paul was entirely candid and became an iconic photo. His style of photography gave birth to a completely new form of documentary art: Street Photography

  1. V – J Day in Times Square, 1945

Picture By: Google

A moment of spontaneous love was captured by the famous photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt. Alfred made a mission to capture storytelling moments. He got a perfect moment of celebration at the Times Square, New York, as a sailor grabbed a nurse and kissed her. The kiss was a gesture of happiness as World War II was over and people were making merry. This beautiful capture by Alfred has become an iconic and reproduced photo of the 20th century.


Written By: Shivantee Bhattacharya

Sitting with a cup of hot coffee and a good book, Shivantee finds her solace in books and words. Trying to reach the world through literature and metaphors, she feels that the fictional world is the best place to live in and thus, connects every real-life situation to the fictional world.


5 Legendary Photographers

Pictures are a way of capturing the most beautiful and eccentric things that the world has to offer. A good photographer can even infuse emotions into still shots. Over the course of history, several photographers have managed to spark the interest of the masses with the help of a camera. These icons have inspired many amateur photographers to evolve into a purposeful photographer. So here are 5  legendary photographers who have left the entire world in awe with their extraordinary work.


  1. Robert Capa

The first photographer to capture battlefield death in action in the picture ‘The Fallen Soldier’, Capa is accredited with elevating war photography to a new level. What is even more impressive is that Robert made his seminal photograph of the Spanish Civil War without even looking through his viewfinder. The Hungarian photographer’s images embody his famous saying “if your pictures aren’t good enough, then you aren’t close enough.” Therefore he is considered as one of the legendary photographers.


  1. Bandi Rajan Babu

The Indian photographer is known for his distinct style, versatility and mastery over photographic art and technique. Rajan Babu’s photography attracts the viewer into the emotional content of a photograph by creating a lasting impression of ecstasy. He is remembered for his magnificent shots of tribal people in black and white and thus he is considered as another legendary photographer.


  1. Homai Vyarawalla

Padma Vibhushan winner, Homai Vyarawalla is one of the first Indian women photojournalists who joined a mainstream publication called, ‘The Illustrated Weekly’ of India. She started her career back in the 1930s and is known for documenting India’s transition from a British colony to an independent nation. Some of her iconic images are from independent India which includes: funeral of Mahatma Gandhi and former prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru.


  1. Raghubir Singh

A pioneer in capturing color street photography, Raghubir Singh is also known for his documentary-style and landscape photos and because of this, he is included in our list of legendary photographers. He is one of the first photographers to reinvent the use of color at that time when color photography was not being acknowledged on a vast scale. Raghubir’s work is included in the permanent collections of the Art Institute Of Chicago, the Museum of Art and many more.


  1. Ansel Adams

Last but not the least, the American photographer is famous for his black-and-white landscape photographs of the American West, especially Yosemite National Park. After leaving his career as a Pianist, Adams set out to create his first portfolio named “Parmelian Prints of the High Sierras” which includes his exceptionally famous and acclaimed picture- ‘Monolith, the Face of the Half Dome’, captured on April 10, 1927. Adams is also known for defining the technique of ‘successful visualization’ and hosting the first-ever photography pageant in 1940.


Written by: Pooja Singh

A 2nd year Political Science undergraduate student Pooja Singh is a firm believer in the power of words. She is still coming to terms with her life as a homosapein and is curious to know about all the things this world has to do offer. A passionate fan of mysteries, Pooja loves poetry and all things creative and can often be found with her earphones on.