Talented photographer and ViewBug member Ollie Taylor shares his top 3 tips to capture the milky ways in a successful way and describes in detail how he captured this awesome shot.

1. Use apps to point the orientation and time of the Milky Way within your desired location.
2. Use a location where the horizon is as dark as possible.
3. Make sure how you mount your gear (tripod head/l bracket/plate) make it rock solid to avoid movement.

Learn the story and tricks behind this amazing photo:

What are you trying to capture/say?
I’ve been shooting landscapes for 12 years, since becoming hooked on night photography I get to put all the knowledge gained from locations I have visited before into my vision for the night image; however, the night shots are more surreal, they render an element of magic and that is what I am trying to portray in my work. Outer worldly nightscapes.

How do you know if it’s visually interesting?
I have usually visited the location before, sometimes years ago, my knowledge of the location and its geography means I get a pretty good idea what is going to work before I hit the road.

Are you thinking about perspective?
Most definitely, although its twice as hard at night, sometimes you don’t get much of the frame left to put the landscape/landmark in and get all the sky you want, so perspectives an issue.

Are you using tripod?
I never leave the house with my camera, and not my tripod (I have 2, 3 heads, and a panoramic head).

What time of the day was it shot?
I was on location from 12am until 3am for this particular shot, but that included a few more compositions.

What aperture settings are you using?
F 2.8

How do you locate the milky way?
I use apps on my ipad/iphone, namely Starwalk

How do you get rid of light pollution?
You don’t get rid of light pollution, it either works in your shot, or it doesn’t, I spent lots of summer nights trying to push shooting through light pollution to the limit, needless to say some of those nights were fruitless. Checkout my astro shot of Weymouth Bay recently uploaded, that’s pushing shooting through light pollution to the limit.

What is your mindset when it comes to POV?
I usually shoot on the south west coast of the UK, high rugged cliffs in the pitch black darkness with unforgiving rocks and sea below, my mindset when it comes to POV is normally sacrificing the best POV for a little piece of mind!

Are you thinking of rule of thirds/how?
Basic rules of photography apply if possible, try and split the image into thirds if you can, foreground interest, point of interest, leading lines. The neater and more interesting you can get the foreground, the better as it leads you in and then you get the Milky Way spiral, and bang, you’ve captivated your audience.

Are you thinking of symmetry?
Not always, but it’s a nice to have where possible.

Are you paying attention on a main subject only or also background and why?
Main subject first, even though the sky is paramount and a huge amount of the landscape can get sacrificed in a single frame, what is in your foreground must be clear and concise or the image won’t work.

Are you thinking of the angle?
Yeah, my D800 blew up during the peak astrophotography time in the UK (summer) so I was shooting a 14mm lens that became a 21mm on my back up D7100, it just would not get the width and loads of my summer work suffered not getting the entire arc of the Milky Way. With this shot I used a panoramic head, I shot 7 images at 0 degrees, 7 at 30 degrees, and 7 at 45 degrees to make sure |I got the entire Milky Way spiral.

How did you choose color vs B&W?
It’s very hard to completely irradicate all light pollution in most of England, but what you pick is always so different to the human eye, it adds colours and usually compliments the image. I don’t think B&W suits night work in many situations.

Did you do any post-processing? if so, what?

The 21 images were stitched in PS, then it had processing to bring out the Milky Way a little and a little colour boost, contrast and so on.

Check out Ollie Taylor's profile to see more shots and get inspired.