The Milky Way
For me taking a photograph of the Milky Way is always breath taking as I get the sense how small we are in our Solar System. Personally I don’t know all the name of the different stars but never the less I still find it amazing looking up at the clear night sky.
Camera with Manual modeÂ â€“ M on the dial so will need to be able to set the ISO and Aperture
Shutter Release Cable â€“ So you don’t shake the tripod
Wide Angle Lens â€“ A lens that can be set to Manual focus. I would say nothing over 35mm. A fast lens ideally f2.8, f1.8. The smaller the number the more light that is let through to the camera
TripodÂ â€“ a good sturdy tripod so there is no movement
Photo editing softwareÂ – Photoshop/Lightroom or something like Gimp which is free
Here is a link to the gear I use My Gear List
HOW TO PHOTOGRAPH THE MILKY WAY
- Ideally you need a dark night sky no more than class 4 on theÂ Bortle scale. I personally useÂ light pollution mapÂ to plan where Iâ€™m going to take my astro landscape photos.
- After setting up your gear you will have to focus on the foreground interest. Your foreground interest will be at a distance where focusing at Infinity (âˆž) will have the foreground in focus. This will also have the stars in focus too.
- To focus at Infinity (âˆž) use the camera live view e.g. using the screen on the back of the camera. Find a bright star in the sky and with the + button/screen magnifier zoom in as much as you can. Once you have the star in the screen focus the lens until the star becomes round.
- Just to note, there is a good chance that the Infinity symbol (âˆž) wont line up with the make on the lens. Donâ€™t worry about it, it happens on some lenses.
- Using the 500 rule PhotoPills Calculator set your shutter speed so there are no star movement. Here is a quick example you divide 500 by your focus length, for example 500 / 20mm = 25 secs or if your focus length is 14 then 500 / 14 = 35 secs.
- Aperture, if you plan on capturing the Milky Way and the foreground in one shot its better to stop down a little to make the image sharper, for example f1.8 lens to f2.8
- ISO, a good starting point is 6400 so the sensor is more secretive to star light.