Starry Nights. A trial and error production.

I am a member of the Pretty Presets Forum- Pretty Forum. If you don't know what pretty presets are and you're a photographer I highly recommend checking them out here

ANYWAY- I was browsing their tips and tricks section on the forum this week and came across a "Star Trail" tutorial and decided to give it a shot. I've always been fascinated by slow shutter speed photography. Streams, stars, moving cars, etc.  However, I did not know how much prep work goes into shots like those.

 Here's my first attempt. This is 21 images grouped together. I like it but I was hoping for a more continuous trail.

Nikon D800, Sigma 24-70mm, Tripod, Zoom ring @ infinity.

I set my interval timer to take one photo every 10 minutes for 3 hours.

My settings were- ISO: 800, F2.8, SS:30 seconds.

I ran a script in Photoshop (I googled star trail composite software) and darkened the blacks and shadows, increased the vibrancy, and lowered the temperature.

There were some shots where airplanes crossed my frame and it looks pretty neat but still a bit "dotty" if you will. 

Below is attempt #2. This one turned out a little nicer I lowered my ISO to 500 and had my interval take a 30 second photo every 5 minutes. Also pointed my camera at a different angle where the city lights weren't behind the trees.