First attempt at the Milky way

Joined
Dec 12, 2013
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209
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Texas
So I rented the Nikon 14-24 and off I went to photograph the Milky Way. I had done hours of research so that I would be prepared since the closest dark spot was almost 5 hours away. What a challenge. Not only do you have to get it right out in the field but then you have to figure out post processing too 😳 Anyway, long story short, I enjoyed the challenge although I don’t feel I was that successful but not giving up 😁 This is about the best I got out of all the pictures.
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Seattle, WA
Hi Yvette, one thing to keep in mind if you don't already know (apologies if you do) is that you are running out of days in which the MW is visible in the Northern Hemisphere. Best time of year is probably May-September. Good luck though, and good first effort.
 
Joined
Dec 12, 2013
Messages
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Texas
Hi Yvette, one thing to keep in mind if you don't already know (apologies if you do) is that you are running out of days in which the MW is visible in the Northern Hemisphere. Best time of year is probably May-September. Good luck though, and good first effort.
Thank you :) I did realize it was not the best time of the year but it was really the first opportunity I have had to get to one of these places (Enchanted Rock) and I am actually rushing myself to learn ha ha. We leave for Africa in 2 weeks time and my aim is to get some Milky Way shots in Africa. We go every year but I just shoot wildlife so I thought I would like to add another dimension to my photography. Since there is not much wildlife for me to shoot here in the US I never take my camera out so figured if I can start doing this it will also get me to dust off the camera cobwebs, leave the house and get to see more of America :)
 
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Minnesota
For a first try, this is really pretty good! Stars are nice and sharp! Took me a while to get an acceptable image especially dealing with light pollution. Was this image guided by equatorial mount?

Dex
 
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Joined
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Yvette, I think you've done quite well with your first attempt. I can tell you that it is not easy to get a good Milky Way capture - a great many things have to come together. I'm certainly no expert, but a couple tips that could help in your next attempt:
  1. Compose your image with something interesting in the foreground. With a wide angle lens, the smaller the foreground object, the closer you need to be to make it appear significant.
  2. Ensure you have sufficiently well-exposed captures, which likely will require a higher ISO than you would like.
If you'd like to see the camera settings that have worked for me, some of my Milky Way attempts are in this album, EXIF data included.

Edit: It appears the gallery does not show the EXIF data accurately. LMK if anyone wants the shooting details - I can post them.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Dec 12, 2013
Messages
209
Location
Texas
For a first try, this is really pretty good! Stars are nice and sharp! Took me a while to get an acceptable image especially dealing with light pollution. Was this image guided by equatorial mount?

Dex
Hi Dex. Thank you for your comments. I had a hard time trying to get the stars in focus so I was pleased that they were somewhat sharp. And no, it was not guided by an equatorial mount.
 
Joined
Dec 12, 2013
Messages
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Texas
great first try! I'm like 6 tries and in and getting nothing. Was weather a factor for you in planning? Twice I have gone only to have it cloud over or be hazy
Hi there. Thank you for commenting. Weather was a factor and I tracked the moon phases to get the darkest time. But it was really just not the right time of the year to get anything fantastic. It wasn’t exactly the wisest choice for me to start this at this time of the year. 😊
 
Joined
Dec 12, 2013
Messages
209
Location
Texas
Yvette, I think you've done quite well with your first attempt. I can tell you that it is not easy to get a good Milky Way capture - a great many things have to come together. I'm certainly no expert, but a couple tips that could help in your next attempt:
  1. Compose your image with something interesting in the foreground. With a wide angle lens, the smaller the foreground object, the closer you need to be to make it appear significant.
  2. Ensure you have sufficiently well-exposed captures, which likely will require a higher ISO than you would like.
If you'd like to see the camera settings that have worked for me, some of my Milky Way attempts are in this album, EXIF data included.

Edit: It appears the gallery does not show the EXIF data accurately. LMK if anyone wants the shooting details - I can post them.
Hi there. Thank you so much for your input and advise. I was at Enchanted rock so unfortunately all I really had was rock as a foreground. Not very interesting. But I figured it was more about tackling the ability to at least get the actual Milky Way right. Next try will most certainly entail trying to get a good foreground. Your images are really impressive. I would love to see what your settings were. I know that I had my shutter speed way too slow but I had my camera at an awkward angle and was finding it hard to see what I was putting it on so that was part of the problem. I was perched on a rock and was trying to keep from falling at the same time 😂 Next time I will most certainly position myself better.
 
Joined
Jan 22, 2019
Messages
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Location
St. Charles, IL
Real Name
Andy
Hi there. Thank you so much for your input and advise. I was at Enchanted rock so unfortunately all I really had was rock as a foreground. Not very interesting.
I have numerous Milky Way images that are reasonably good "pictures of the stars." But as photographs, I was disappointed. Making the leap from a picture to a photograph is indeed the challenge. If I had spent half the time on the composition as I had on the technical aspects of those images, they would have been a bit better.
I would love to see what your settings were.
I updated each image with a comment that specifies the exposure triangle info. It appears that the website can't handle the idea of exposures longer than 1 second, so it incorrectly displays them as a reciprocal in the metadata box.
I was perched on a rock and was trying to keep from falling at the same time 😂 Next time I will most certainly position myself better.
Been there, done that!
 
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