Wallpaper Monday

St Moritz

Photographer Dominic Kamp writes:

Taken from the top of Muottas Muragl, a minor summit situated near St. Moritz in Switzerland. It offers a great view on the four lakes of St. Moritz/Engadin and is reachable until 11PM by a cable car.

If you click on the image to biggify, you’ll notice that the stars are all short streaks rather than dots of light, which betrays the long exposure of the photograph. (As does the light glow of the towns, but that’s secondary.) What boggles my mind is that the exposure was only 88 seconds. In less than a minute and a half, our planet — which is dang close to 25,000 miles in circumference — turns enough for its motion to be recorded on an open camera sensor.

We are turning wicked fast! And that’s not even a patch on how fast we’re moving around the Sun in our orbit…


About Fletcher DeLancey

Socialist heathen and Mac-using author of the Chronicles of Alsea, who enjoys pondering science, politics, well-honed satire (though sarcastic humor can work, too) and all things geeky.
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4 Responses to Wallpaper Monday

  1. joanarling says:

    Mr Kamp certainly is a very good photographer, but I’m undecided whether or not to like this pic, and it’s precisely because of the star trails. Setting the ISO to 400 would have reduced the exposure to 22 seconds; at 24 mm focal length that would have made the trails virtually unnoticeable. Perhaps the sensor (with 36 megapixels!) produces too much noise even at that moderate setting?

    • oregon expat says:

      Even if it did, people with cameras like that generally also have noise reduction plug-ins in their photo apps…

      From a photographer’s point of view, I agree with you. Either have BIG star trails that are the point of the image, or eliminate them altogether. But from an astronomy geek point of view, I love those little streaks. We rarely see them in photos (because most photographers think like photographers, not geeks), but they are such a powerful illustration of our rotational speed. And this is in Switzerland, where the Earth is rotating much slower!

  2. joanarling says:

    Well, for one thing, noise reduction reduces sharpness. It’s a precarious (and frustrating) balance which led me to buy a D700 (12 MP full frame) in addition to the D7000 (16 MP APSC) I already had. Noise-wise, the D700 has about three stops advantage.

    On the other hand, what makes speed geeky? I mean, beside the ticket your wife collected recently πŸ™‚ Yes, earth rotates fast, even though much slower than it used to. It moves around the sun at an astonishing speed, the sun moves even faster around the centre of our galaxy, and heaven knows how fast that galaxy moves around the centre of I-don’t-know-what.

    We’ll probably not have a meeting of minds here. But Mr Kamp’s photograph clashes with what I see when I look up at a starry sky. And sometimes I love controversy — LOL

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