Milkyway time lapse
Exploring the night sky time lapse style. Took almost 3 hours to shoot this 15 second clip but totally worth it.
my exposure time was 15 sec f4.2 iso 3200. Interval was every 30 seconds edited in light room.
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Story behind the photo: I knew from the start that I wanted to do a time-lapse of the Milky Way at night. I hiked to this spot called Beacon Heights in the afternoon to scout the area. I choose an ideal spot to shoot at night and remembered the composition I would most probably be using for the evening. Decided to do this as it’s easier to do all this during the day.
Beacon Heights is merely 0.2 miles though the forest from the start of the trail to the top of the overlook with this view which isn’t long at all. That’s what I thought anyway during the day. I arrived again in the evening right after sunset while there was still a scant amount of light; there were still about 3 cars parked at the start of the trail so I knew there were people up there. Arrived at the top without issue and admired the view and started shooting my non time-lapse shots first. Little by little, the groups of people left and I was all alone.
The overlook was mainly rocks with a drop off and the view in front of that. Behind you is the thick tree line which I just hiked through. It was peaceful but honestly creepy at the same time, being so close to the dense trees and shrubs in complete darkness. I shined my flashlight from time to time at the trees to make sure nothing snuck up on me. I decided to play upbeat music on my phone to change the mood and to maybe ward off any curious animals in the area. It was absolutely breathtaking watching the Milky Way emerge out of the fading post sunset horizon light; seeing it slowly move horizontally across the sky little tiny bits at a time. The evening breeze was crisply cool, all you could hear was the critters of the forest at night, and the stars were so blindingly bright once your eyes adjusted to the lack of light.
The time-lapse was already going on for a while and I was lying down on the ground beside my camera setup and just enjoying the moment. The evening breeze changed direction and the wind blew from the trees towards me heading to the view I was staring at and then I smelled it, a really strong odor very similar to how a wet dog smells. What I immediately thought of was, oh god, the only big animals I’m aware of in this area would be deer and bear. I’ve been near deer before and they don’t smell like that, leaving the other unpleasant option a possibility.
This made me literally jump up, turn on my two flashlights and move as far away back from the trees as I could.
My heart was pounding and I was really nervous. Blasted the music even louder and checked the tree line for anything. Decided to stay for just a few more exposures to make it worthwhile but I could not relax anymore. When the last photo was taken at 10:10pm I called it quits and decided that was enough shooting for the night. Packed up all my stuff, tied a flashlight on my left wrist so it would be dangling and pointing at the ground, held another flashlight in my left hand as my sweeper light, held the tripod on the right as my improvised weapon, and put my phone in my pocket blasting music on maximum volume which just so happened to be the soundtrack of Guardians of the Galaxy. I thought to myself on how else I could make my presence more known; why of course, let me just “sing” along to the playing music which was more like me nervously yelling the lyrics and hiking down as fast as I could through the eerily dark path through the forest. (The specific song playing was I’m not In Love by 10cc, so imagine someone lit by flashlights enveloped by the dark in the forest trail yelling it out loud like a crazy person) 0.2 miles never felt so long in my life before, I can tell you that. When I reached the clearing past the trees at the bottom I just ran to my car and I’ve never been happier to be out of the hiking trails before. The things you do to take these photos…
Your public lands are a great place to watch the night sky and view the Milky Way. Approximately 80% of Americans can’t see the Milky Way from their homes. Escape city lights and head for your public lands for a memorable evening star gazing. This week is a great week to get out there - a new moon means that there isn’t much additional light pollution (tip: get away from cities). Next week the Perseid Meteor shower should be spectacular - some are estimating 200 meteors per hour!
These photos were taken last night in Colorado at Window Rock on Shelf Road around 11 PM (Camera Specs: Canon 60D f/2.8 ISO 3200 25 second exposure). Photo and write up by Kyle Sullivan, BLM Public Affairs Specialist.
The Galaxy in my Hood - Explored #13 by Matt Payne Via Flickr: I really wanted to drive to Lost Lake today to get a photograph of the Milky Way and Mount Hood. I had to drop my wife and son off at the Portland airport at 3:30 A.M., so I was already going to be awake and in the car; however, I took one look at the weather and decided it would have been a waste of gas - nothing but fog and clouds in the forecast. Instead, I came home and edited this version of Mount Hood and the Milky Way, with a small meteor above galactic center. My goal was to use the lines created by the Milky Way and it’s reflection to draw the viewer right into the center of the frame and Mount Hood. I also went for the inclusion of these two rocks on the shore of Lost Lake as anchors for my photo.
Some technical details:
Nikon D800, Nikon 14-24, f/2.8, ISO 3200, 30 seconds. I combined exposures taken on the same night, one earlier than the other, to get good exposure on Mount Hood. I enhanced the reflection of the Milky Way to make it more visible and to achieve the vision I had for the image.
My brother and his girlfriend got a kitten, so I chased it around with my camera for a while. The lighting was pretty bad, so I had to crank up the ISO to 3200, which I try to avoid whenever possible because my camera (a Canon 60D) gets a little spicy up there. His name is Packer (after the American football team) and he’s a little hellion! (but I still love him)