Project Description

Lake Wairarapa, New Zealand.
Photographer: Daniel Hilton
Home Town: Wellington, New Zealand
Lens: Nikon 20mm f4 AI
Film: Provia 400X (cross-processed)
Exposure time: 9 hours
Aperture: f5.6
Date: 28 June, 2014
Scanned using Nikon Super Coolscan 5000. No Photoshop adjustments.

I am 18 months into an ongoing experiment with star tails. A 90-minute drive from my home in Wellington, New Zealand lies Lake Wairarapa, separated from the capital city by 90 road kilometers and the Rimutaka Ranges which shut off almost all of the city’s light pollution. The skies are wonderfully dark. I always shoot from the same spot at the north end of the lake. What changes, however, are the lens choice, the aperture, the film, the exposure time, and even the way I expose – continuous exposures, or broken exposures such as 15 minutes lens cap on, 3o minutes off and other timing variations. The potential combinations of variables are huge and each combination results in unique images. I am, effectively, building a database of information relating to color-shift characteristics of various films. The purpose of this is to know how to shoot for a particular effect when I am doing a star trail on my travels. Fortunately for me, this technical exercise has resulted in a number of pleasing mages. This image is taken on Provia 400X (now discontinued in 35mm) and cross-processed. I particularly like the pinkish/red tone of the sky (a 7 hour 45 minute-exposure on the same roll yielded an orange sky). Three large-sized hand warmers tied to the lens takes care of fogging issues. Manual-focus lenses are preferred due to their hard infinity focus stops. I am confident that the MB-40 battery pack is good for up to 12-hour exposures (maybe longer) when powered with PowerEx 2700mAh rechargeable batteries. Thank you to John Crane and the Nikon F6 project.