Some lights on. Exposure limited by the lights.
No lights. Exposure limited by light pollution from L.A.
The brightest star, above the ridgeline of the house, is Polaris (magnitude 1.96). Stars down to magnitude 8 or so are detectable in this JPEG. 72 second exposure at f/3.5 with Canon 1Ds at ISO 1250 (maximum). Some noise reduction in Photoshop.
Copyright 2003, Paul Williamson. firstname.lastname@example.org