Last weekend I set out on a quick camping trip to make the most of some gorgeous clear weather we had here in British Columbia. Of course, I took the 7D Mark II with me as part of my ongoing test program for it and this time I’d planned to shoot some night sky images, particularly some star trails. Since I needed to carry both camera gear AND camping gear, I transferred things into a much larger hiking pack. I thought that I’d got everything, but I was in a rush and unfortunately the one thing that I managed to forget was my bag of remote cable releases. A pretty essential accessory for star trails where you want to set up an intervalometer to capture a long series of long exposures for stacking later in Photoshop. Kicking myself, I thought I’d have to make do with single images and not a star trail. The temperature was well below zero degrees and I wasn’t about to stand there and press the button 150 times at 30-second intervals! Then it struck me…..the 7D Mark II has a built-in intervalometer!
Yes for the first time ever, Canon has included an intervalometer in the menu of the 7D Mark II and I was able to set it up to shoot the star trail shot you see here. It’s not quite such a flexible solution as the remote cable control since it doesn’t allow you to define exposure lengths of longer than 30 seconds, but in a pinch, it’ll do an admirable job. Now I know I shouldn’t really get so happy about a feature that, let’s be honest, should have been in cameras 5+ years ago…… but what the heck! It saved my ass! In fact, I can definitely see myself shooting more images like this simply because it’s so quick and easy to set it up. Put your camera into manual exposure mode, set the exposure number to 00 (infinite) in the intervalometer menu and then just press the shutter button once and it’ll happily click away until the battery runs out!