Star trails, Iridium Flare and a Meteor Over Jefferson Lake, Park County, Colorado

The shear number of stars over Jefferson Lake in Park County, Colorado makes up for the short trails in this brief, 40 minute, time span (the area closes at 10 PM). In that short period, I luckily captured a meteor (the dimmer streak lower down) and a very bright Iridium Flare.

Iridium Flares can be precisely calculated – the Heavens Above web site offers predictions for your location (and other satellites like ISS as well) if you want to try seeing or photographing one. I didn’t plan on catching this flare, I was just lucky.

This was shot under a waxing crescent moon. It was bright enough to illuminate the landscape but not too bright to wash out the stars.

Click the image below for a lager version.

Star trails, Iridium Flare and a meteor over Jefferson Lake, Park County, Colorado

Star trails, Iridium Flare and a meteor over Jefferson Lake, Park County, Colorado

Details: Shot with a Canon 5d Mark III with a Rokinon 24mm 1.4 lens wide open at f/1.4. The image is a stack of 114 images each 20 seconds long at ISO 1600. For processing, I started with Lightroom applying vignette correction (manually as I don’t have a profile for this lens), white balance and some gradient filtering to reduce skyglow. I then combined the individual images together using a handy free program http://startrails.de/. I then brought the combined image into Photoshop for a good deal of tweaking – selective levels on the sky to further reduce the skyglow and color balance the sky background, manual lens correction, tweak the brighter stars to make them less bright and more saturated and removed lights from about 5 or 6 airplanes using the clone stamp tool.

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