Wednesday, January 23, 2013

iPhone Star Trails using NightCap App with Infinite Interval Photos

NightCap for iOS is the best app for capturing images of the night sky, and its "endless photos" burst mode lets you shoot a well controlled batch at intervals up to 60 seconds for stacking on computer software later.

Instead of standing around using the headphones as a remote shutter release, NightCap () lets me take endless (until the battery freezes) photos at timed intervals. I made the image below from 22 photos at 30 second intervals, each 1 sec shutter at ISO 3200. Light pollution is from downtown Bowling Green and the bright moon.

I'm so close! If only it were a bit warmer out, I'd have the first (to my knowledge) impressive star trail photo on iPhone. It can be done!

star trails using night cap app for iphone
It was so cold, my iPhone only managed 22 photos in 10 min before the battery was drained
I imagine this app coming in pretty handy in warmer months when my camera lasts more than a measly 10 minutes and the sky isn't a total wash from the moonlight. Still, with a bit of color correction, this isn't a bad image - remember it's photographed on an iPhone!

star trails using night cap app for iphone
Same image with slight color adjustments in Photoshop to remove noise pollution

The app also lets you choose between JPEG, HQ JPEG and TIFF outputs, however the TIFF isn't available for burst mode. Manual exposure lets you select from 1/20 to 1/1 sec, or just do what I did and lock the exposure when you find the right combination of shutter and ISO.

night cap app screen shot settings

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