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Milky Way Panorama



The natural formation of the Milky Way can only be seen like this through the eye of the camera.

The natural formation of the Milky Way can only be seen like this through the eye of the camera.
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Awards

Contest Finalist in A Milky Way Photo Contest
Contest Finalist in The Stars Photo Contest
Contest Finalist in Capture The Milky Way Photo Contest
People's Choice in Starry Skies Photo Challenge
Winner in Starry Night Photo Challenge
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Peer Award
MaxMontella Abbigailstudio christiankieffer marybethschepper ashleyne1993 melvinjohnson_9472 Pblais +18
Magnificent Capture
philipdrispin Free-Spirit tashapaige14 OtterySense chocolatcoco chiphendershot
Absolute Masterpiece
Kenny_Enriquez Leausmith Steve_Thomas victorninestrong
Top Choice
Flaviodurao aimeejohn
All Star
jamesjohnston_3471 TimMatthews160
Outstanding Creativity
biancarf
Virtuoso
tazzzer62

Emotions

Impressed
volkmer Kenny_Enriquez jamesjohnston_3471

Submitted to Photo Contests

Top ClassTM

A Milky Way Photo ContestTop 10 class
Creative Landscapes Photo Contest vol3Top 10 class
Creative Landscapes Photo Contest vol3Top 10 class week 1
The Stars Photo ContestTop 30 class
The Stars Photo ContestTop 30 class week 1
Night Wonders Photo ContestTop 10 class
Night Wonders Photo ContestTop 10 class week 1
Shades Of Brown ProjectTop 30 class
Shades Of Brown ProjectTop 20 class week 1
Capture The Milky Way Photo ContestTop 10 class
Capture The Milky Way Photo ContestTop 10 class week 1
Travel Photography ProjectTop 10 class
Travel Photography ProjectTop 10 class week 1
Creative Landscapes Photo Contest vol2Top 20 class
Creative Landscapes Photo Contest vol2Top 30 class week 1
What A Night Photo ContestTop 30 class
Finding Arches In Nature Photo ContestTop 20 class
Finding Arches In Nature Photo ContestTop 10 class week 1

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Behind The Lens

Location
To take this picture I drove south from Hobart, Tasmania, about an hour, down a quiet road and on to an even quieter dirt road. You can see the lights of Hobart in the distance but it was pitch black and during the couple of hours I was there no one even passed by me on the road. That’s the secret with astrophotography, the darkest skies.
Time
This shot was taken around midnight. Skies seem darker in the winter and of course it’s important to check the phase of the moon and moonrise and set timings.
Lighting
When I shoot night skies I try to connect the sky to the ground so silhouettes create a great connection. The wires running through the shot also help create a narrative.
Equipment
This was shot on a Nikon D610 with a Sigma 24-70mm f2.8. I use a Manfrotto tripod. A basic shutter trigger is essential for long exposures. These days I use a panoramic head for multi exposure panoramas.
Inspiration
I’m inspired by images of light that you can’t see with your own eyes. Mark Gee’s photography is certainly an inspiration. While I’ve taken lots of night images the Milky Way is one of the more exciting things to shoot. I also follow a few night photography groups on social media.
Editing
This panorama is actually over 180 degrees of the sky. It’s something like three rows of eight images. As it’s an early attempt by me, I didn’t have a panoramic head at the time, they certainly make stitching easier. I used Photoshop to stitch it together. In places I added an extra layer to correct some stitching errors. I’ve gone in and highlighted some of the lighter areas and darkened the darker areas of the Milky Way. This gives it more depth. I also like to push the saturation as far as I can.
In my camera bag
I usually go out at night with two tripods, one for single shots and the other with a panoramic head. I use a very basic cable shutter release, it’s always worth keeping a spare as they can be pretty temperamental. A good head torch is a must but I try and use it sparingly as a courtesy to my fellow photographers and because using it removes you from the night time environment. My usual go to lens is the Nikon 20mm f1.8. I like to keep a spare body and my Sigma 24-70 f2.8 as a spare. It’s useful for time lapses if the conditions are right. Sensible shoes, wind proof clothes and gloves you can operate your camera with are also essential, it’s a shame to have to head in because it’s too cold!
Feedback
Tasmania is a great place for dark skies. I love the peace and tranquillity of a night time shoot. There are places along the coast where the next land is Antarctica. I use some great apps to plan my shoots including StarWalk, TPE and weather and cloud cover apps. The Milky Way changes position in the sky over the course of the year. There are only certain time of the year you can get the full bow like in this image. In Australia the best time of year is between August and October because the bow is lower in the sky. I think the most important thing is to not wait for a special occasion. Go out and practice your night photography. Get used to your camera in manual mode and get ready for the next big night time event. Happy hunting.

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