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The Only Milky Way Photography Resources You Will Ever Need

The Only Milky Way Photography Resources You Will Ever Need

Where Astrophotographies are Headed in the Next Five Years

Have you seen the Milky way in the sky it probably doesnt look anywhere near the image clicked below? It seems like a band of stars or stardust across the night sky, and It is spectacular when you spot it for the first time. Milky Way Photography hobby is addictive. You will start planning your life around it.

We will live in times when Mirrorless cameras have made astrophotography easier. Image quality has improved so much. Astrophotography beginners guide will help you click image like the one below with any camera which has manual controls. You can use DSLR, Gopro, Iphone, Andriod Phone, and Mirrorless camera; all can click similar images. It would be best if you learned to play around with the settings and plan your next Astrophotography trip.

Milkyway-Bhandardara-1

Camera gear required for Astrophotography

Dont get intimated with the above headline. There are few basics inexpensive camera gear needed to make your image look professional. You can easily buy them for a few thousand rupees. Dont invest profoundly first understand the concepts, practice with your friends, learn on your travels. Here is the list of Camera gear required for the Milky way Photography.
1. Moonrise and Moonset timing app
2. Weather app
3. Dark site finder website link
4. Astronomy App ( Stellarium, Sky Map, Sky view)
5. Dslr, Camera, Gopro, Mobile Phone
6. Tripod
7. Infrared Torch
8. Intervalometer for DSLR, Mirrorless camera ( External Camera remote )

Camera gear

Find the best Weather app?

Research about the weather before heading out. If the night sky has cloud cover, bad weather, or rain showers, there are chances you might not be able to see the Milkyway hidden behind the clouds. Though if the night sky has patches of clouds moving across the air, they can enhance the look of your images. Milky way photographer will always face this issue with the bad weather if you find clear skies dont miss the oppurtunity for Astrophotography.

Bad weather

Are you checking the new moon phase period?

Research about the weather before heading out. If the night sky has cloud cover, bad weather, or rain showers, there are chances you might not be able to see the Milkyway hidden behind the clouds. Though if the night sky has patches of clouds moving across the air, they can enhance the look of your images. Milky way photographer will always face this issue with the bad weather if you find clear skies dont miss the oppurtunity for Astrophotography.

Moon phase

How to find the perfect dark spot to click the Milky Way images?

We all live near light-polluted areas where we can hardly spot any stars in the night. The light pollution from street lights, Industrial zones, cars, villages travels far and will ruin your image. It would be best if you avoided such light-polluted areas. You can use the Dark site finder website link - https://www.lightpollutionmap.info/ to find the darkest spots near your city. Locations with Light pollution marked in red, pink, purple, bright green, yellow—darker spots marked in shades of blue. Places with absolutely zero light pollution have no color. These darkest spots are usually very far from the city, like the protected forest, a wildlife sanctuary, remote villages where development has not reached. So choose the dark blue areas nearest to your town. Milky way photography in the city is not possible there is light pollution at night. 

Light Pollution Map

Install any Astronomy app or Skyview App?

There are many Astronomy apps available to learn about the night sky, constellation, planets, nebulas, and more. Install one they give you live view of the night sky, and you can fast forward to a future date with time and find the exact time when the Milky way will rise and set and the compass direction. It also shows the moonrise and moonset timings. Using Night sky view apps is very crucial. You can plan your shot before night falls and wait. Some of the recommended apps you can install Stellarium, Sky Map, Sky view, Photo pills.

skyview app

Tripod to keep your camera stable for long exposures?

You will need a stable tripod, preferably with a ball mount. Astrophotography requires long exposure like 6 seconds, 12 seconds, and it is impossible to hold your camera stable for such long periods. You can use any camera tripod, mobile tripod. Tripod will help create a sharper picture of milky way galaxy without image blur.

Camera-Tripod

Infrared Torch to help see better in the dark?

Let your eyes adjust to the dark avoid using bright torches, and headlamp instead prefer using infrared lights. They help keep your eyes adjusted to the darkness. If you use fluorescent lights, your natural night vision goes away, and you will need to wait for some time for your eyes to adjust in the dark till you see naturally in the dark again. So investing in infrared lights will be required. Most camping torches come with infrared light, and normal led light combined you can check with your favorite brand for similar gadgets.

Headlamp

Camera with the manual mode setting?

Any camera will work fine for creating astrophotography images. It needs to have a manual mode where you can control manual focusing, shutter speed, iso, aperture. If you can attach a remote, it will help create images without blur created when pressing the shutter button. Most cameras will let you keep the shutter open for exposure for a maximum of 30 seconds. Most DSLR, Mirrorless cameras have these functions. Some mobile phones might not have a manual mode, and you can install an app that gives you this functionality.

Camera Setting

Intervalometer required for Milky way photography

In case you plan to expose the image longer than 30 seconds, you will require a bulb mode option on your camera, and a camera remote called an intervalometer. This camera remote is also useful for creating timelapses. You can feed in the number of images required and exposure setting and let the remote click these images for you. New cameras like Nikon and Sony have the intervalometer builtin the Menu system. You can learn how to use it if you dont plan to spend on an external camera remote.

intervalometer

Now comes the fun part of capturing the Milky Way images.

You have assembled your gear and decided on the location. Now comes the fun part, which involves camping, road trips, and finally capturing the Milkyway. Reaching early at the campsite is the key you can scout the right camping spot for the night. In the below image, i reached the campsite before sunset, pitched my tent, and composed my shot. Using a few reference images from the internet, i knew the location from where the Milkyway would rise. I confirmed the same using the Stellarium app. It has a mobile view mode where you can see the current stars, planets when you point the camera the phone towards the sky. I calculated when the Milkyway would be visible using the calendar feature inside the app.

Milkyway-Way-Photography

Milky way galaxy images from earth

Precisely at 3.00 am as the app predicted the Milkyway was visible over the Jivdhan Fort. I used manual focusing and infinity mode on my Lens to keep everything in focus. Infinity symbol looks this on your camera ∞ when manual focusing set the center to the infinity symbol, and you dont need to worry about focusing. Everything in your frame will be in focus now.

If your camera lens does not have this option on your Lens, you can use this trick to keep your image-focused. Compose your image first then focus on something in the foreground like the tent in the picture. It will be dark, so you will need a flashlight to illuminate the tent, and your camera should now be able to autofocus the tent. The Flashlight helps camera AF find the tent location and grab focus on it. Once the tent is in focus shift your Lens back to manual focusing, there should be a button on your camera lens for autofocus and manual focus. Now, if you dont move your camera, your tents will be in focus and the Milky way Galaxy. If you change the image composition, you will need to follow the same technique to focus on the foreground to keep the image sharp. You can use any object in the front to focus your friend, tree, car, anything available near you.

Milk way photography

Manual Exposure - Milky Way Galaxy Photography

The last part exposing the image correctly depending on your camera model like mirrorless, Dslr, GoPro, mobile phone, point, and shoot you can set the exposure setting. New mobile phones have built-in Night mode photography. You can try a few images using this model. But you will get the best result when you use manual exposure mode. You can control the shutter speed, iso, aperture, and keep adjusting until you find the right exposure. Usually, ISO 800, Shutter speed depending on the camera like 3 seconds or 12 seconds, aperture widest possible like f1.8 / f2.8 / f4 for the best bright and vivid images of the Milkyway. If you are using a Mobile phone for astrophotography, Install the app to control manual exposure if your phone does not have manual exposure feature built-in.

Astro Photographer

How to photograph stars with Treks and Trails India

Looking forward to seeing your Milky way images, kindly tag us in your pictures on instagram at www.instagram.com/treksandtrails. You can also follow us and DM us to get featured. We also conduct Lets photograph the Milky way event near Mumbai and Pune during summer months from February to June do check them. We teach in the event how to photograph the milky way. If you follow the tips shared above, photography of Milky Way will be enjoyable.

Milky way photography batch

Frequently asked questions

What is the best time to create milky way pictures in India?
Summer months from February to July are the best months to capture the Milky way images. In the northern states like Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Milky way at night is evident due to lesser light pollution even during June and July.

How to find inspiration to capture Milky way galaxy images?
You can follow hashtags like #milkyway #milkywaychaser photographers worldwide, creating Milky way galaxy pictures that use these hashtags.

Best cameras for creating pictures of the Galaxy?
You get unique astrophotography cameras from Canon, Nikon, for night photography. You can also attach these cameras to the telescope and use photo stacking for creating images with vivid colors and contrast. Mirrorless camera offers high iso range reducing noise and clear night sky images. Using a wide-angle lens, you can easily create Milky Way panorama and capture the pictures of stars.

Milky way photography

FAQ

Best places in Maharashtra to click images of the Milky Way Galaxy?
Depending on the city, you can use the night pollution map to locate the right spot for star photography. Our recommendation are these places the Kalsubai Harischandragad Forest Sanctuary, Samrad Ghatghar, Dehne village, Wada region, Konkan region from Ratnagiri to Vijaydurg, Velas village, Ladghar Beach Dapoli, Taila Baila Fort, Sudhagad Fort, Naneghat.

Best Place in India for Milky way galaxy photography?
India has many dark spots in the lesser industrialized state like the North East region, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Kashmir. Here are the best places for Astrophotographers Rann of Kutch, Spiti Valley Langza, Jibhi Himachal Pradesh, Kalpa Kinnaur, Sangla, Sarahan Bushahr Shimla, Kedarkantha, Ambolgad Maharashtra, Velas Maharashtra, Kalsubai Maharashtra.

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