Star Trails Over Gigha & The Island Queen

Star Trails Over Gigha & The Island Queen

Last night I headed out with the camera to capture some Star Trails Over Gigha & The Island Queen boat wreck at Tayinloan, Kintyre, Argyll.

My main plan was to get Star Trails over the Island Queen, I wasn’t really looking for anything else.

The Island Queen

The Island Queen is a boat wreck that lies on the beach just up from Tayinloan Pier and is just a fantastic photographic subject, especially for night photography as it allows you to shoot in a Northerly direction which is always good for the Northern Lights and Star Trails around Polaris.

I had decided that I wanted to shoot this image in Portrait orientation, allowing me to position Polaris further down from the top of the frame in comparison to when I shoot Star Trails in Landscape orientation where Polaris tends to be near the top of the frame.

Shooting in Portrait meant I had to have something in the foreground for some interest, then having The Island Queen in the middle ground with the Star Trails in the background. There is usually something to use as foreground interest, washed up seaweed, clump of grass or some stones, the important thing for me is it didn’t detract from the Star Trails, which is the ‘Star’ of the story within the image ( sorry, poor pun I know ).

I did find some seaweed left from the high tide so I got setup and fired off a few test shots to check exposure and all looked good at f2.8, ISO 3200, 2 minute exposure time with focus set to infinity.

Magic Lantern

At this point I have to add in that for this shoot I used Magic Lantern ( ML ) which is free software that runs from your memory card which gives you a lot more options thatn your standard Canon menu does.

I utilised the intervalometer option to capture my images this evening and this was my first hands on use of it. I won’t go into too much detail about Magic Lantern as this post is not about that but it was good and I really like it, but it does seem to benefit those that use Canon DSLR’s for video a lot more. Visit their website for more information and downloads and take note of their disclaimer.

The Image

So with my settings dialled in to ML I let the software and camera get to work. I had it setup for 10 images at 2 minute exposures which resulted in the image below wich whas stacked with Star Stax software.

Star Trails over The Island Queen
Star Trails over The Island Queen

I’m reasonably happy with the image but think it could have been better. I think more images would have helped but there is also something with the composition that just doesn’t seem right to me. Maybe it would have been better in landscape, I may try that in the future.

Patience Is a Virtue

I am not the most patient of people, so standing or sitting around for the next 20 minutes was a no go for me, so I went for a wee wander. It was during this wander when looking out to Gigha and the looking at the constallations I decided to give Star Trails an attempt.

I was concerned about the bright lights on the Island but after a test shot I decided that I would take a darker image and blend them in with Photoshop.

I used the same camera settings as the previous image but went for 20 images this time, however due to cloud I could only get 12.

Star Trails Over Gigha
Star Trails Over Gigha

As you can see I shot this in Landscape and it looks better to look at I think. I actually prefer this image to The Island Queen image. I decided not to bother about the lights on the Island and reduced them in Adobe Camera Raw for all the space they were taking up within the image.

All images shot on a Canon 6d, Samyang 14mm f2.8 lens.


I’m happy with the shoot and fairly happy with the images. My last few outing haven’t gone well due to technical issues and weather so it was nice for things to go smoothly.

I’m probably going to shoot The Island Queen again as this is one of the images I’m going to use in my calendar next year and I’m not 100% happy with it.

Really happy with Magic Lantern and it’s performance.

You may notice that the Northern Lights were starting to make an appearance in The Island Queen image. They have been pretty active recently but I just haven’t made it out for various reasons but I am glad they weren’t too bright as they would have taken too much of the viewers attention in the image.

When I returned home I received a notification from my Aurora app giving me an Orange alert which usually means about KP4 which if I was wanting to capture the Aurora I would go out, but at 10 past midnight just walked into my nice warm house it was bed for me lol.

Thanks for viewing folks and feel free to visiy Amy’s post with which I am sharing these inage with in her Challenge Landscapes.



8 thoughts on “Star Trails Over Gigha & The Island Queen

Add yours

  1. Wow… Magical! Such a long process to get this result in additional to the effort to be out there. Patience Is a Virtue, indeed. The ML is a fascinating addition,thanks for the info.
    Thank you so much for link your magical shot to my Landscape theme. I’m honored.


  2. Love these shots! I took my first stab at night trail photography last summer and I understand the feeling about embracing the imperfectly perfect, when the shot didn’t quite comes out the way you hoped for. Your photos are great. I think you nailed it! 🙂


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