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Photography Question 
Carlton Ward
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/13/2005
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Capturing the Milky Way


I have seen a few images of the Milky Way and wanted to ask if anyone has captured images of it and what the do's & dont's are of capturing them in our digital box :)
From what I gathered so far, it needs to be really dark (far from any city lights) and that shutter speed has limitations as too slow can create star trails and also needs to be on a dark night (new moon preferable).
If anyone has any tips or tricks, I would love to hear them :)
I cant wait to try to capture it with my new 12-24mm lens :)
http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap110524.html

Cheers,
Carlton


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1/30/2012 3:23:09 PM

 
Ilene Samowitz
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/6/2006
  I have a lot of interest in this as well. I am looking for tips since I have very little experience.


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1/30/2012 3:37:27 PM

 
Ken Smith
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/11/2005
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  Carlton, Irene. It's really quite easy. I just moved a couple of Milky Way shots to the front of my gallery so you can see them.

First and foremost, get out of the city. Ideally, you can see the M-W with your naked eye. Tripod is a must. Bump your ISO to the max...6400 or so, and open up the lens to the max; e.g., 2.8 or 4.0. And set shutter speed around 20 seconds or less. Much more, and the stars will blur as you get star trails.

I use a wide-angle lens to get more of the stars. Most importantly, set the exposure to manual focus. Auto won't work. Ahead of time, focus on a distant object. Some people put tape on their lens, to prevent the focus from changing. I have live view, and it's easy to zoom into the night sky, magnify, focus using live view...then unzoom to the widest angle, then 20 second exposure.

Then, use noise reduction software on your home computer. I do NOT use the camera's on-board noise reduction, as I read about this tip in Outdoor Photographer; e.g., turn it off and use software after-the-fact.

Star trails are the next extension. Same concept. Point camera towards the north because you'll get more rotation. And adjust the aperture to something like F8 and go for 10-15 minutes. There's much more to star trails then what I've just typed, but you can at least experiment using the info above.

You can also use flash fill to illuminate a foreground object. Or a flash light to illuminate an object during the exposure.

Let me know how it works out!


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1/30/2012 4:56:50 PM

 
Ken Smith
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/11/2005
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  Correction...for 3rd paragraph...set the "camera" to manual focus. Don't use auto focus.


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1/30/2012 5:20:20 PM

 
Ilene Samowitz
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/6/2006
  These are beautiful. Thanks for the tips.


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1/30/2012 5:31:22 PM

 
Carlton Ward
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/13/2005
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  Thank you Ken,
Your images are beautifully captured. I will plan ahead for a new moon night with no clouds (which is the tricky part as the Pacific NW often has cloudy skies) and go out to a couple of places on the Pacific coast where it is really dark and away from any big cities (only a few vampires from LaPush) and if I get lucky, I may even try making captures for several hours to make a time lapse movie...
Right now, I would just be ecstatic to get 1 clear capture. I just received a new Sigma 12-24mm for my FF 5D mk II and it may not be til late spring & summer before we have clear skies.
Tripod, remote shutter, Manual Focus, F/Wide Open, ISO6400 (will also experiment with other f/stops-speeds-ISO's) LaFuma camping chair that reclines back where I am looking straight up into the sky & a beer (or 2).
Cheers,
Carlton


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1/30/2012 6:04:40 PM

 
Ken Smith
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/11/2005
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  Ilene, you're welcome!

Hey Carlton, good luck at La Push. That's a beautiful area...be sure to get to 2nd Beach! Enjoy that beer...or 2!


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1/30/2012 7:46:11 PM

 
Martha R. Mazon
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/6/2008
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  Great info, Ken, and beautiful photos. Thanks for sharing! And thank you Carlton for asking the question. :)


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1/31/2012 7:56:34 AM

 
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