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Old 06-25-2015, 07:15 PM   #1
chopper2585
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Photographing the Milky Way

I had been trying to find time to go out to a dark spot for a while to photograph the Milky Way, but it's almost 3 hours to any place that's dark enough.

I finally got out to a spot, and it wasn't as dark as I hoped for, but I got some good pictures. Not sure if you guys are into this stuff, but I thought I'd share them.

Here's two of them and then a video patch of 45 all taken over the course of about 15 minutes. It results in only about 3 seconds of video.

I think they turned out pretty good for my first try at it, especially when looking at the larger images.

DSC00578 by RandomDay, on Flickr


DSC00604 by RandomDay, on Flickr




Last edited by chopper2585; 06-25-2015 at 09:33 PM.
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Old 06-25-2015, 09:39 PM   #2
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Very nice.

I've been to some great dark sky locations in Arizona and S Florida. Has to be tough in your area.

The all time top spot for me was on Mauna Kea. Took a SUV to the top for the sunset, then down to the Visitor's Center at 9000' to take in the stars. Absolutely amazing.
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Old 06-25-2015, 09:41 PM   #3
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I'd say those turned out better than "ok"! Nice work! What's the trick there? Shutter, aperture, ISO? I have a DSLR that I use for all kinds of fun stuff and am always looking to expand my bag of tricks.
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Old 06-25-2015, 09:54 PM   #4
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My son and I were laying on a picnic table in Seligman, Arizona and saw the Milky Way. I thought it was a cloud until I got out the binoculars. The Arizona sky was perfect. Your pics and video are great. Was that a Go-Pro?
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Old 06-26-2015, 04:12 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 020NE View Post
Very nice.

I've been to some great dark sky locations in Arizona and S Florida. Has to be tough in your area.

The all time top spot for me was on Mauna Kea. Took a SUV to the top for the sunset, then down to the Visitor's Center at 9000' to take in the stars. Absolutely amazing.
haleakala ( literal translation= house of the sun ) on maui.
12,500 feet at the summit, 4am to watch the sunrise. awesome...
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Old 06-26-2015, 04:32 AM   #6
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Those are some awesome pics. Very well done. It sure beats the ones I took of the Milky Way


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Old 06-26-2015, 07:43 AM   #7
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Beautiful pics! I am a photography buff and love nighttime photography. I do want to know how you took them. Time exposures? Well done!
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Old 06-26-2015, 08:07 AM   #8
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Very nice!
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Old 06-26-2015, 10:06 AM   #9
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Thanks guys! I hope to get out again and do some more another time. The problem is the farther east you are, the worse it gets. This place was 3 hours from me, so 3 to get out there by midnight, then I was so tired looking ahead to 3 hours back, I was there like 30 minutes


Quote:
Originally Posted by XQIZT View Post
I'd say those turned out better than "ok"! Nice work! What's the trick there? Shutter, aperture, ISO? I have a DSLR that I use for all kinds of fun stuff and am always looking to expand my bag of tricks.
Thanks! Yep, it's a mix of all of those things. The lens has to be "fast" which means a low f number. The lens I used was f/1.4. It's a measure of how much light is let in.

Then you set the shutter to a certain time. I used the maximum before it starts streaking from the sky moving. It'll depend on the lens and camera, since the sensor sizes matter.

The ISO wasn't too high on mine, 3200 for these. My camera is a Sony A7s which is made for low light stuff, so other cameras would need to be higher probably.

Then, it's some minor work in a photo editor to change the contrast. Nothing is manipulated, it just hides some of the light the camera captures.

I put a picture below of what I saw with my eyes, and what the camera captured. Then a few minutes got the pics to what I posted.



Quote:
Originally Posted by 1963SS View Post
My son and I were laying on a picnic table in Seligman, Arizona and saw the Milky Way. I thought it was a cloud until I got out the binoculars. The Arizona sky was perfect. Your pics and video are great. Was that a Go-Pro?
Quote:
Originally Posted by fatguyzinc View Post
haleakala ( literal translation= house of the sun ) on maui.
12,500 feet at the summit, 4am to watch the sunrise. awesome...

Definitely, Arizona, Nevada, Colorado, NM, Hawaiian mountains, all those places are perfect for this stuff. The darker it is, the easier it is to catch it. I used this map to find a spot, it really depends on where you are.

The video was actually 45 still pictures taken one after another. Then I put them together and it shows how everything moves over the time.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Texdentist View Post
Beautiful pics! I am a photography buff and love nighttime photography. I do want to know how you took them. Time exposures? Well done!
Thanks! Yep, I replied to XQIZT with some of it. This was on my Sony A7s, the lens was a Rokinon 24mm. The size and f number of the lens make all the difference. I was able to do 20 second exposures with the lens before the stars would streak. Lenses lower than 24mm can go longer, and higher have to be shorter.

This is a good tool to see how long you can expose for: http://www.lonelyspeck.com/milky-way...re-calculator/




So here's the comparison with what I saw and what the camera got, and what a little editing did. It was pretty dark out there, but there was a small airport or cell tower farm, or something on the horizon. If there are clouds or high humidity, you'll see the glow from the lights.


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Old 06-26-2015, 11:03 AM   #10
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Great work and good info. Makes me want to get out and do a little night photography again. I have a Canon 5D Mark III that really takes great pictures. I'm like you, though. DFW has very bright skies at night. I'll have to drive a while to get dark skies.

My last night time effort was Fourth of July fireworks.



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Old 06-26-2015, 12:33 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Texdentist View Post
Great work and good info. Makes me want to get out and do a little night photography again. I have a Canon 5D Mark III that really takes great pictures. I'm like you, though. DFW has very bright skies at night. I'll have to drive a while to get dark skies.

My last night time effort was Fourth of July fireworks.

Those look awesome. The 5D Mark III is one of the best out there. I had that before selling it and getting the A7s. They're two different systems, but there's a lot I miss about that 5D.

This is the lens I used for this stuff This is the lens I used for this stuff
. It's very wide and lets a lot of light in. It's said to be one of the best ones out there for this kind of photography, plus they can be had pretty cheap on eBay.
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Old 06-26-2015, 08:31 PM   #12
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Quote:
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Those look awesome. The 5D Mark III is one of the best out there. I had that before selling it and getting the A7s. They're two different systems, but there's a lot I miss about that 5D.

This is the lens I used for this stuff. It's very wide and lets a lot of light in. It's said to be one of the best ones out there for this kind of photography, plus they can be had pretty cheap on eBay.
That's a cool lens. F1.4 is definitely a lot of light. I'm going to experiment a little with the L Series lens I have and see what I get.
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