A small lighthouse, 1.5 km away from Port Fairy, one of the best place I’ve seen to capture milky way.
Nikon D800 with 14-24mm
30 seconds – F/2.8 – ISO 5000
Shooting Milky Way is never an easy job, especially if we live in a high density populated areas. Aside from dealing with the light pollution, factoring the phase of the moon is also important to maximise the best contrast possible. In this trip, we tried to factor in everything we could think of to spot the ideal place and time:
– find a place far away from big cities to minimise light pollution
– shoot during new moon phase to maximise dark sky and increasing contrast of the stars
– check the weather, spot for windows of clear night with minimum clouds
– try to plan a foreground that you’re going to use to compliment the milky way on the background
– pray for the best luck you can have
To capture the best colour in milky way, it is necessary to push the limit of my camera by bumping the ISO up to 5000. The extra 1-2 stops sensitivity gives a noisier image but rewarding me with more vibrant colour and better details on the stars.
For the choice of shutter speed, I stick with the rule of 500 (use shutter speed no slower than 500/effective focal length) to maintain the star as a point (not leaving any trails behind do to motion blur). In this case, my maximum shutter speed is 500/14mm = 35 second. I keep it at 30 second to have a more conservative result.
Finally, the biggest challenge to me was on the field itself as I have to frame the foreground with an extreme wide angle lens (14mm) in a pitch black location near 0’C temperature.
At the end of the day, shooting milky way is all about planning, with a little bit of extra luck.
PS This photo was posted here last year, but I just did a rework on the noise and WB accuracy, so I believe this one is a much closer representation of the actual night itself
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