Tied into a life of adventure.

Capturing the Milky Way

The Milky Way, Carson Pass

The Milky Way hangs above The Sisters, Carson Pass, CA

It seems that every time I head out to the Sierra, I can’t avoid staying up long after everyone has bedded down in their sleeping bags to shoot long exposures of the Milky Way.  There’s just something about looking up into the vast, cloudy galaxy and contemplating my part in it that keeps me awake in the cold and wind, hunched beneath my tripod.

Capturing the Milky Way is challenging.  In order to have a nice, crisp Milky Way, my exposure needs to be quite short: less than a minute or so.  Otherwise, the earth’s rotation will blur the galaxy into a big, nondescript, celestial fog surrounded by streaking stars.  However, to achieve such a short exposure with so little light, my camera’s ISO has to be pushed to levels that will could create too much “noise”, little specks in dark areas.  It’s always a balancing act.

Here’s an example of a shot that did succeed in getting some detail of the Milky Way, but it is slightly blurred due to its minute-long exposure.  I’m not satisfied.  Time to head back out and try to capture the galaxy again.


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