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How to Start Shooting the Milky Way

Durlston Country Park

Taking pictures of the Milky Way can be difficult yet rewarding. Here are some pointers to get you going:

  • Purchase the necessary tools: To capture as much of the night sky as you can, you’ll need a wide-angle lens with a minimum aperture of f/2.8 and a camera that can shoot in manual mode. You’ll also need a tripod to keep your camera steady.
  • Employ a remote shutter release: Use a timer or remote shutter release to activate your camera’s shutter to prevent camera shake. Alternatively you can shoot using time delay, normally of 2 seconds.
  • Choose the ideal location: To capture the Milky Way, you must find a place that is devoid of light pollution. In a rural or isolated place is preferable; search for areas away from cities or towns.
  • Check the weather: Before heading out to take your Milky Way photos, check the weather forecast to ensure clear skies. Clouds or haze can affect the visibility of the Milky Way.
Partially Cloudy

  • Set up your camera: After deciding on a location and putting your tripod in place, switch your camera to manual mode and make the necessary adjustments. Start with a shutter speed of 15-20 seconds, an ISO of 3200 or higher, and an aperture of f/2.8 or less. The brightness of the Milky Way and the level of ambient light in your area can affect these settings.
  • Turn your lens to manual focus and utilise the live view feature to zoom in on a bright star to get your stars in focus. Zoom out and compose your image after adjusting the focus until the star appears sharp.
  • Take numerous images: To catch the Milky Way in its full splendour, take multiple shots and then stack them together in post-processing. The finished image has more detail and less noise thanks to this technique.
  • Play around with editing: Milky Way photography requires post-processing. To get the most of your Milky Way shots, use editing tools to tweak the exposure, contrast, and colour balance of your images.

In conclusion, taking beautiful Milky Way images needs minimum planning and equipment, but anyone can achieve it with the appropriate techniques. You’ll be well on your way to capturing beautiful Milky Way images if you keep these suggestions in mind, are patient, and explore.

Milky Way Real and Camera
Milky Way as seen by the human eye and by the camera.