Using Live Composite For The First Time

Using Live Composite For The First Time

As far as features go, I was most excited about learning how to use the Live Composite on my Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II. 

Typically I get a little lazy when taking astrophotography, anyone else the same? I love working with sunlight, warm afternoon glow and underwater but astro has always been the one thing I’ll happily let slide in preference of a warm bed! 

That was before. Now I might be a little hooked.  

Creating star trails was something that had long been on my wish list but I’d never stayed out late enough, instead capturing the Milky Way or Aurora being completely content with those results. For me star trails seemed like a lot of effort, something that required a huge amount of technical knowledge and some serious patience. 

I watched in awe as some of my favourite landscape photographers pieced together these works of art, turning the night sky into moving magic.  

Live composite makes this effect possible for anyone to achieve. On the Olympus OM-D series you can simply select a few options, press the shutter and bam, job done. 

The camera does all the work for you and it’s just a matter of deciding what result you wish to achieve as to how long you leave it running. You can read a book, go for a walk, eat dinner…whatever takes your fancy 

After playing with this setting in the lavender fields of Provence, France I found the optimal results for partial star trails was roughly 20-25minutes. For the full circular trails, it’s best to leave it for longer than 40minutes with an individual exposure time of about 15 seconds per shot. 

By using the same settings you would for astrophotography, the camera will automatically take a shot at intervals, set by you, and then stacks them on top of one another. The best part, in my option, is that you can actually get a preview after every single frame. The image updates itself on the LCD screen so you can watch the magic unfold and easily decide when you think it’s done! 

Settings used for the shot below: 

80 x 15 second exposures 

ISO 1000 


M.Zuiko Digital ED 7-14mm f/2.8 PRO Lens 

Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II 


Words and Imagery by Visionary Lisa Michele Burns