How to shoot Milky Way Galaxy


About

The moment we see milky way galaxy photos taken by some photographers, first thing we say to ourselves is that I want to click the same shot and then second though comes HOW ?

This article will be a guide to get you through the basics so you can get out shooting your milky way.

Camera Equipment
  • Camera with Manual Mode (must) , Full-frame camera preferable since full-frame ISO performance is better.

  • Camera Lens - wide angle fast lens, 14-24mm, minimum f/4 aperture, preferable f/2.8 , f/1.4 aperture

  • Shutter release - reduces camera vibrations and allows for long than 30s exposure.

  • Tripod - strong & steady, Must have

Preparation
Find when is new moon, The closer you are to the new moon, the better.
For Milky Way you usually want to shoot between one week before and one week after a new moon for best results.
Location : The closer you are to a city, the more this light pollution will affect your image, reducing the number of stars in your shot. Find some place with good interest in foreground is preferable. Using a site like darksitefinder.com can help you to find dark sites around your city.
Mobile apps : Stellarium, Planet!, SkyView can help to find milky way position in sky in advance for planing.
Weather Check : cleardarksky.com, weather.gov or Google weather helps to find clear sky.
Focusing Lens

  • Easy Way : Preset your focus during the day. Adjust your lens for the focal length you will be using; e.g. 24mm. Focus on a far away object using autofocus. Take few shots to check sharpness. Once your shot is in focus, you have found your infinity focal point, just change your focus button to manual focus. You can also mark your exact focus point.

  • Second Method: Using live view at night. Set your focus ring as close to the ∞ (infinity) symbol as possible. Turn on live view and point your camera at the brightest star or object in the sky. Zoom all the way in. Adjust your focus ring until the light from star looks as small as possible.

Camera Setting

  1. Raw format for post processing white balance fix

  2. F stop : wide aperture / lower f stop

  3. ISO : Start with an ISO of around 1600, go up to 6400 or more

  4. Shutter Speed : You can start with 24sec. To be more precise use 500 rule i.e

50mm lens: 500/50 = 10 seconds

16mm lens: 500/16 = 31.25 seconds

To be simple, just try this :

ISO 6400, 24mm, f/2, 20s

ISO 6400, 16mm, f/2.8, 30s


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