How to take photos of the Milky Way


What you'll learn

1. How to plan for a successful Milky Way shoot

2. How to avoid trailing stars

3. How to frame up for a super interesting shot

 
Photos of the Milky Way
look awesome, but they can be a little tricky to capture. You'll want to use a long exposure, but avoid trailing stars. With a little bit of maths and the help of Triggertrap Mobile, it's easy to enter in the specific shutter speed you need for your shot. 


What you'll need


A bit of theory

You can get some awesome photos from shooting the Milky Way. Using long exposures allows you to see what you couldn't otherwise see with the naked eye. 

There's a couple of things you need to consider before embarking on a Milky Way shoot: As we mentioned, to capture the night sky you'll be working with long exposures. This means that securing your camera down using a tripod is crucial. To avoid any movement whatsoever you'll need a cable release. We'll be using Triggertrap Mobile on the Timed Release mode. This mode allows you to enter in a specific shutter speed of your choosing. 

To calculate the specific exposure you will need for your shot, use the 500 rule: 500 divided by the focal length of your lens will give you the longest exposure in seconds that you can use before the stars start to trail. 

The easiest way to focus a shot of the Milky Way is to use Live View. So you'll need to be pretty confident with using your camera on manual and with manual focus

Another thing to consider is what else will be in your scene besides the Milky Way. Photographs of the night sky can really come to life with some foreground elements. You could use things such as buildings in silhouette, trees, or even large rocks. 


Planning

Location

Try and find a location which is a little way from any large towns or cities and without any light pollution. If you’re in the northern hemisphere, the Milky Way is most visible between March and October. You’ll want to look up from the south-east to the south-west to be able to see the Milky Way. In the southern hemisphere you should aim to shoot between February and October, and you’ll want to look from the south-west to the south-east.

Check the weather

Before you head out on your shoot, be sure to check the weather. You'll need to aim for a night with next to no cloud to ensure that the sky is as visible as possible. 

What's the moon up to?

Check the phase of the moon and the time that it rises and sets. Aim to shoot during the four days either side of a new moon. 


Setting up


Capturing the photos


Examples


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