A Cold Embrace


Star trails, Vermont, Sculpture, Jim Sardonis

Star trails over a Whale Tail sculpture in South Burlington, Vermont

As I am getting more into doing night photography I was drawn again to the Whale Tails sculpture “Reverence” done by Jim Sardonis which sits on a small hill in South Burlington, Vermont. Several weeks ago I posted my first star trail shot here in a horizontal composition but because it was so cold out on that night I wasn’t able to get this vertical composition until just recently. I was finally able to capture a decent image of the North star directly over one of the tails which was the shot I had planned originally!

The first week in March provided some slightly warmer temps and on my second attempt I did not have to work so fast to get the shot that I wanted. Although still quite cold I trudged across a frozen, snowy field in the dark and after a bit of tough framing I was finally able to start shooting this star trail shot. The second tail sits just out of frame to the left and makes getting the north star above the tail here difficult but not impossible for the intrepid photographer! Framing in the dark is most definitely a learned skill but I was able to fill the frame with just the one tail and get that beautiful circular pattern above it.

The image above consists of 157 images (my feet were too cold for more!) merged in Photoshop. There is a bit of light pollution from an industrial park behind the sculpture which is unavoidable but in this case I thought it was a nice compliment to the composition as a whole. I did not do much fancy processing on this one…White balance, distortion correction and some of my usual, simple corrections. Once you start doing this type of work it kind of turns into a beast you can’t control and you have to shoot these more and more! Don’t say I didn’t warn you.