The Milky Way can be a fickle thing and it’s always there. However, living in the midwest with all the lights (whether natural or artificial), it goes unnoticed by a vast majority of people. Sometimes a person can get lucky and find that perfect spot, on a clear and moonless night. On such a night, the Milky Way makes it’s presence known in an awesome way. I was lucky enough to have one of those nights.
The conditions were right for the Milky Way.
The last time I tried for this particular subject, I had only 2 of the 3 key components correct. First I found a dark spot in Wisconsin, then I got a clear night, but my downfall was the natural light from the moon. A person doesn’t realize just how bright a quarter moon is until there is no other light around. Well it’s BRIGHT when photographed. That experience taught me a valuable lesson, which was to make sure NO moon was in the sky.
I picked a day where the moon would set before sun and that was near a new moon. Finally, I watched the weather report with baited breath, hoping for clear skies on that night. Ultimately,my wish was granted, the perfect night. It was dark, clear and only 2-1/2 hours away from home. The Milky Way was going to be mine, so off I went.
What the Universe gave me.
Upon arriving at the area I chose, I set about finding a nice open area to set up. I was surrounded by trees so this took some driving around, but finally I settled on a location. After setting up, I took roughly 100 photos of the Milky Way on 2 different Canon cameras. My set-up consisted of a Rokinon 14mm f/2.8 lens, Canon 5D mark ii and Canon t7i cameras, shutter release and tri-pod. I varied my my shutter speed between 20-30 seconds and my ISO between 1600-6400. Given the choice, I could have stayed all night just looking at the universe, but I couldn’t. So, after about 2 hours I headed back home.
Processing and links.
In the end, I did all of my post editing in Adobe LightRoom. As with any editing, personal preference do take over, as mine did here. With that said, you can view my Milky Way photos HERE.
I did reference several online resources to make this happen and they are: The Ultimate Guide to Editing a Milky Way photo, Dark Sky Finder and How to Photograph the Milky Way. Many thanks go out to the authors of those sites.