Photographing the Milky Way is a unique experience to me. Arriving on location well before sunset to shoot alongside fellow Photographer Kirk Keyes we had about 6 hours to wait to shoot. This surely is the longest time I have been on location by far!
I am used to taking my camera to places and leaving well before the sky goes completely dark, but this time the sunset was mediocre and I didn’t care. The real show didn’t start until after midnight as the Milky Way would rise above the horizon. Spending the evening taking occasional images to just document the slow transition from day to twilight to the dark of a moonless night.
Did I mention the others on location? There were probably around 30-40 photographers on the shore at any given point in the night! People came from all over the USA and even a few from Europe to witness and document this astrological event. One of those who I think probably walked away with the best shots is Kirk Keyes.
I have been listening to the Photog Adventures Podcast for a while now even going to the coast while they were out there. Recently, Kirk became a larger contributor to the site which is fantastic because he is truly a talented photographer! I look forward to shooting with him and the other listeners of the podcast in Oregon and Washington in the future.
The night progressed and Kirk got his star tracker aligned to the north star so he could shoot several minute long exposures of the stars without motion blur. Even though the stars move slowly through the night sky it is easy to take too long of an exposure and blur them. I was maxing out my ISO just to keep some level of sharpness on them!
I ended up shooting panoramas of the sky to make up for the high ISO and loss in detail because of the extreme conditions. I have finally found an area where my beloved Fuji cannot excel at, given I am not using the most ideal lens. If I went out to photograph something like this again I would need to pick up some dedicated gear for shooting astro.
The first image I shot was an early panorama of the Milky Way as it shoots from the side of Mt. Hood. I really like this one as there was a significant amount of red air glow that adds a touch of unique color and mood to the image. The second image is from when the core aligned with the side of the mountain which I shot as stacked images of the stars to decrease on noise.