The Radiations Of Their Personalities
"The lights of stars that were extinguished ages ago still reaches us. So it is with great men who died centuries ago, but still reach us with the radiations of their personalities." ~ Kahlil Gibran
Just like many of the stars in this image probably don't exist anymore, yet we still see the report of their shiny station in the cosmos, so too do I feel the spirit, solitude, and passion of noted Arizona essayist and novelist Edward Paul Abbey (January 29, 1927 – March 14, 1989) living in his own shiny station on this mountain top. He lived for three summers (1977, 1978, and 1979) within this very fire lookout tower of Aztec Peak, in the Sierra Ancha Wilderness Area of Tonto National Forest. This work experience became the source of multiple references within “Confessions of a Barbarian”. This lookout tower itself was constructed in 1956 and is listed on the National Historic Lookout Register at US#192 and AZ#02.
This image is the result of shooting over 900 images of crisp stars in a time-lapse sequence. I then took a small range of 40 sequenced images of these crisp star points and then combined them into one composite image to produce this star trail effect. With each image being 15 seconds long with a 2 second interval between each (17 second cycles), this composite star trail is equivalent to running one single exposure of approximately 11 minutes. For final effect, I then skipped ahead of the last image in the sequence by 3 frames, and then created another composite of the previous 40 frame composite plus the single image. This is what creates that ever so small gap at the end of each trail with a point at the end of it. I chose to do this effect so as to "punctuate" the star trail with the implied direction they are moving.
This entire thing could have more simply been created from just shooting two exposures (one really long and one really short) and then composting just those two. Why did I not do that? Because that was not what I was shooting at the time. I was specifically shooting crisp star points to stream together in a time-lapse animation later. So since I can't do two things at once with the same camera (get crisp star points and long star trails), I came up with this idea.