Lonely Planet Writer

Stunning pictures of whirling star trails over Chofukuji Temple in Okayama, Japan

Photographers in Japan have shared a beautiful series of images depicting vibrant star trails streaking over Chofukuji Temple in Okayama.

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Chofukuji Temple with star trails seen overhead. Image by Tdub Photo
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Each photo took from 20 – 40 minutes to expose, with the shutter on the camera being left open to capture the light. Image by Tdub Photo
The photos were taken by Trever Williams and Jonathan Galione.
The photos were taken by Trever Williams. Image by Tdub Photo

The pictures were taken in Mimasaka City by Trevor Williams of Tdub Photo. The long-exposure images depict stars whirling in a circular motion in the blue night sky above the vibrant orange Buddhist temple below. Dating back to 1285, the building features a three-story pagoda that stands at 22.7 metres high. Originally built on a mountain in Niigata, the structure went through a series of repairs throughout its history before being granted special protection from the government and being moved to the current location in Okayama in 1955.

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The structure was moved to its current location in 1955 after having been granted special protection from the Japanese government. Image by Tdub Photo
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The star trail technique captures the earth’s movement, using the stars to paint with light. Image by Tdub Photo
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The photographers used hand warmers in the cold weather to keep the lenses from fogging or freezing. Image by Tdub

“The conditions that night were perfect for shooting star trails. The moon was at half and in the sky at just the right time. This provided some ambient light to the temple and surrounding garden, and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. It was around zero degrees, so some disposable hand warmers were wrapped around the camera lenses to keep them from fogging and potentially freezing over,” photographer Trevor Williams told Lonely Planet Travel News. Each of the shots took about 20 – 40 minutes to expose, with the camera’s shutter being left open during that period to record the movement of the earth. More of Tdub’s work is available to view on their website.