Wish Upon a Star

So this year the backcountry birthday arose from the sprawling mounds of biodegradable diapers. In fact, the whole family and another couple of best friends headed out for a new area in the Yuba Pass area. Wilderness, hiking, quiet, and proximity all brought us to Carr Lake in the Tahoe National Forest. There we unloaded and hiked 25,000 lbs of baby stuff, beer, and food into the nearest open campsite some 1/4 mile down the trail. Some nice gentlemen had pity on us and helped me carry in gear. Once we were set up (well we actually moved for the second night!!!) I felt so blessed to be breathing in backcountry birthday air. We explored some truly amazing terrain that was accessible, hikable (i.e. not immediately steep for toddlers) and swimable – yes – lots of lakes.

Sierra startrails carr lake 1600 sml

With the Perseid showers finishing up, I set up a star trail photo on Carr lake. I managed only one shooting star since the light sensitivity was rather low (ISO 200, 240 sec exposure) – so it would have to be a real streaker for the sensor to catch it. The cool thing I actually remembered was to preset the tripod and get a sunset photo so I could layer in detail. I shot some 35 exposures of trails over – yup you calculated it 140 minutes and finished with a sweet but dark pic. Autoaligning the daylight frame, masking it out and painting it in with 8-10% flow really allowed me to control the light and details I was bringing back in (since it was on a tripod, I actually didn’t even need to autoalign). For those on a budget – this can all done with the epic free Startrails program by Achim {PLEASE DONATE TO HIM, I have!!!}, and a $40 version of Photoshop Elements 9. Not bad huh?


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