When shooting star trails, here are a few tips to keep in mind:
~Use a wide angle lens with a large aperture.
~Increase your ISO to see more stars.
~Continuously shoot 30 second long exposures and process them with a program like StarStax.
~If you want circular trails like these, make sure to include the North Star in your frame.
~Use live view to help find focus and then switch to manual focus.
~Try using a tungsten white balance for extra blue skies.
When using the standard metering mode (Evaluative or Matrix), it is very difficult to get a clear image of the moon. This metering mode gives you an average exposure based on the entire frame; in most cases of the moon, that includes a very bright moon against a very dark sky as the majority of your Image.
This tells your camera that the exposure should be long (attempting to expose for the dark sky), and the result is a blurry and over exposed moon. Use spot or partial metering modes to meter off of the moon itself and you will see that your exposure is very fast as the moon is so bright.
Usually this will mean a solid black sky. This image is a composite created with 2 different exposures so the clouds and moon would both appear.
Painting with Light is a great creative technique. Your camera should be on a tripod and you should also have a remote, cable release or use a timer.
Use manual focus and manual shooting mode. Start with an exposure of about ISO 400, f5.6 @ 10” (Ten Seconds).
Use flashlights to “paint” the light where you want it on your still life subject or “draw” subjects by “drawing” pictures towards the camera with the flashlight.