Why Shooting Star Trails is Awesome

For over a month now, I have been stagnant and not living out of a suitcase, which has been a blessing in-fact. During this period, I have been able to re-organize myself, my workflow, test my new camera equipment, learn some new things and I even launched my newly re-designed website which is looking fantastic. 

But then as a photographer, there's always that itch to explore, shoot and experiment with something new, which you never done before. So, one fine day in the middle of night when I looked up and saw clear winter skies at night, It was indeed a pretty amazing sight of bright stars, planets and cosmic objects. (Yes! It had been a long time since I had done that, since most of us have forgotten simple pleasures of life). Also, Google has this amazing app called Google Sky, and if you hold your smartphone to the sky, it points out different planets, stars, constellations, galaxies and even telescopes which makes it super fun to keep stargazing on a chilly night. (Google is by far a better learning tool than our boring text books, I would say)

That's when I actually thought of shooting star trails, night sky and cosmic universe which we are insignificantly part of. I also rued the fact that how I never thought of this before, since my travels had taken me to some beautiful landscapes in Himalayas & to remote islands which are ideal places to shoot night sky.
 
Again with a bit of googling on "How to shoot star trails", I was able to understand the requirements and techniques of shooting star trails. But then, let me tell you that no matter how good a photographer you are, you will not master the art of night/star trail photography instantly. It is definitely a genre of photography which requires lots of practice, skills and a bit of luck to get that mind-blowing image which you normally come across. I chose no moon days and a few dark nights over the course of 6 weeks, in which I was lucky at times and very unlucky with weather and visibility. 
 
Nevertheless, it was a nice learning curve and I believe I can really score some top notch images if I am there at the right place at the right time. I also suggest to photographers who are into travel & landscapes to try Astro photography, even if you don't get the desired results (like me), it can be fun and challenging, and looking up once in a while at night, can be blissful than staring at our smartphones endlessly. 
 
Star trails over temple ruins at Melkote
On top of Raya Gopuram ruins at Melkote. I could have got much better shot if it wasn't for the clouds which ruined the long exposures. 
Star trails over river Kaveri, Southern India
An interesting perspective on the banks of River Kaveri, South India. It can be very challenging to shoot star trails in complete dark areas if you don't know your surrounding. Light pollution can be another headache which may ruin your shot. 
Startrails over forest cover, South India.
Probably, one of my most successful startrail shots with stars coming out a lot more sharper and in focus. But not the best of composition. 
Star trails over a South Indian ashram.
Although, the majority of the composition consists of buildings and trees and less of night sky, It's still tells you the potential of capturing startrails over objects in the foreground. It adds perspective! 
 
 
This shot could have been the best of the lot, if it wasn't for those damn clouds which kept passing over the monument. This image is a compilation of only 60 photos, it was originally supposed to have had about 150 photos put together.