Late Night with the Milky Way

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Milky Way

This is a good time of year for viewing the Milky Way at a decent time of night from my vantage point, namely off my back deck.  I use an app on my iPad called “Sky Guide” to locate the Milky Way’s position in the sky.  There are many apps that will do this but this one seems especially easy to use.  I also wanted to try out a new toy called a “Cam Ranger” which connects as a wireless Wi-Fi controller to your camera and transfers control of the camera functions to your iPad.  The advantage of this is that you can use the much bigger screen of the iPad to assess focus and overall picture quality thereby making adjustments on the fly a little easier.  The other advantage is that I can sit in the comfort of my living room window seat and control the camera in the back yard.

I shot this image using my older D3s because of its ultra-low noise characteristics, especially at long exposures.  The image was shot at 30 seconds, at 14mm, f2.8 and the ISO was set at 6400 with a preset white balance of 3600.  As you might have noticed, I also got lucky with the addition of a meteorite passing through on the lower right.  The really bright “star” right of center is actually Mars.  The light at the lower left edge of the horizon is from the moon which would have risen in about another hour.

So, all in all this was a fun experiment, and I hope to get out to some other more interesting locations to view the Milky Way.  For more information on photographing the Milky Way and the night sky in general, you can read “Photography: Night Sky,  A Field Guide for Shooting After Dark” by Jennifer Wu and  James Martin.


Equipment:  Nikon D3s; Nikkor 14-24mm f2.8 lens; Oben Tripod; Cam Ranger


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