One of my resolutions for the year 2016 is to incorporate myself in more of my pictures/make them more personal – so I started the year doing just that.

I am an aerospace engineering student at Purdue University and I have a passion for photography, particularly astrophotography that I never really get to pursue while at Purdue because school just has to come first. So when I come home for the different breaks (fall break, christmas break, etc), I can mount the projects I have dreamt up from the previous semester.

I have been dying to get out and capture some star trails, but the weather has had other plans; it has been overcast for the better part of the break.

Last week, I read about the Dogwood 52 week photo challenge on PetaPixel, and the first week says to do exactly that, capture a self portrait and explore the self-timer setting on your camera, so I decided I would.

Last year christmas break, I took my very first star trails, and it was the second image that I created using my (then) new camera, a Canon EOS Rebel T5i. I thought it was the coolest thing.

So I thought, now that I am a proud owner of a new 7D MkII, why not remake the shot from last year, and try and incorporate myself in my new shot with the MkII — perfect.

That was what I was gonna do. I set up shop in my backyard where I took last years’ photo to the best I could remember it. I wanted to smash this remake out of the park and display how much I had learned in a whole year of doing star trails.

I decided to shoot RAW on each camera. That decision resulted in a lot of data to process. A lot being over 50 GB of photos together.

The Rebel ran for 4.6 hours, totaling to 1,104 images, 28.24 GB of RAW pics. I planned before I began the sequence to leave room for the battery door opening and closing so I could change the battery several times, I ended up using 3 batteries.

The resulting shot was exactly what I had dreamt up in my head. A remake of last years’ shot that outdid my previous one, by a longshot.

The resulting shot from the MkII was also exactly what I had pictured.

It ran for 5.9 hours. This one like the Rebel I planned and left room for the battery door to open and close so I could change out the battery, and likewise used 3 batteries to get it done.

I only have two LP-E6 batteries though for the Mk II so when one came out, it went right back on the charger and as soon as it was done, I ran back inside, grabbed the battery and swapped it out.

For the MkII, the battery didn’t end up being the constraint for the camera continuing to capture though. I started with an empty 32GB card in the MkII (I don’t have any CF cards yet since I just got the camera) and the memory card ended up being the constraint. The battery was still at 75% and the card had filled itself star pictures. It ran for 5.9 hours, and totaled to 1,424 star pictures.

The settings for each were the same:

15 seconds

f/3.5 — f/4

ISO 400

WB 4500K

The lenses I used were:

Rebel: Canon 18–135mm f/3.5–5.6 IS STM
MkII: Canon 8–15mm f/4L

And the resulting shot from the MkII was exactly what I wanted: