Do you like to take photos of the Milky Way? Have you in the past or do you want to learn?
I have done it, but it is not one of my main passions, more a side line.
But if you are interested the “Milky Way Season” is upon us and will arrive soon! What is the “Milky Way Season”? Well we, living on the earth, are located with it in a barred spiral galaxy. The barred spiral galaxy is one of the most common forms for a galaxy to take and is a spiral galaxy with a central bar-shaped structure which is composed of stars. Our galaxy is sitting on one of the arms of the spiral. Now because of the star density looking towards the centre or core of the Milky Way, that is always the best place to observe the Milky Way. Looking at the centre there are amazing things to see, abundant stars, brightly coloured clouds and loads of wonderful things to capture. A short distance from where we are located are several very good areas, where you can see the milky way with your eyes. But because of where we are located in the galaxy and our journey around the sun, some times of the year are just better to view the Milky Way than are other times. Obviously you also need to be able to view it at night, and the best time to do that in our area is late April until late July. Now with the snow and cold outside one thinks that is a long time away! But you know what, it is not too far to start thinking about it and preparing.
First you will need to find it. You may already know how to do that as there have been ways to find it for photographs for decades. But if not, look at Photopills app as it is an amazing assistant.
You will also need to find a dark area in the sky and you may know that. If not there are tools for that as well. Try this site: https://www.lightpollutionmap.info and good luck
You will need a camera. Use the one you have now. But if looking for one look for a full frame digital camera and if possible find one with an invariant sensor which will make things so much easier!
Next a wide angle lens and one which opens up wide – at least one where aperture opens up to f/2.8 if at all possible as wider is better allowing more light in!
A good tripod is mandatory and one that is very stable as you want zero shake due to wind or any other factors.
It is also good to have an external trigger although a timer on camera also works well.
Focus is important and I will do a blog on focusing later.
Shoot images in RAW – now this is important – do not underestimate this one as this allows you to get a LOT more out of images. You may thing fine JPEG is good enough and for many things it is quite good and often works. But RAW does have a LOT more in it and when pushing the limits of your camera it will show. Shoot several test images and see how they turn out and then go for it and good luck!
Oh yeah, forgot not season yet! But get ready and dream.