Milky Way, Central Texas Skies

http://www.flickr.com/photos/michaeltuuk/6891294400/in/photostream/lightbox/

Milky Way, Central Texas, 17mm, f/4, 30s, ISO 1600

Our family went on a great camping trip in Central Texas this past weekend.  I woke up at about 5 am on Saturday morning and stepped outside to amazing skies.  I thought to try my hand at some night sky photography but had no idea where my camera, tripod, and wide-angle lens were at the moment.  Of course I was not about to shine a light and go looking for things, especially with our 4-month old soundly asleep.  So, Saturday night I set the appropriate gear out in case I woke up early Sunday morning.  I *did* wake up early and spent a bit of time trying to get some good images of the stars.  I experimented with aperture, shutter speed, and ISO and found some reasonable combinations.  Only later did I hear of the “600 rule” which says that for these night shots you should set your max shutter duration to 600 divided by your focal length if you want to avoid obvious star trails.  My results roughly correlate with that.  A quick internet search yields all sorts of information about night sky photography and post-processing by stacking images…I’ll leave it to you readers to do that research if you’re interested.  I may dig deeper someday myself.

I tried a bit of light painting in an attempt to barely show the trees and add interest to the photo but all I had was a Streamlight brand flashlight (an amazingly bright little pocket flashlight which I highly recommend).  I first of all didn’t want to disturb any campers and then even when I could shine the light away from other campers it was simply too bright to have reasonable control over the exposure.

I believe the glow on the horizon is from San Antonio.  The city is quite far but a long exposure will pick that up quite a bit.  The camera is definitely pointing toward the city.

In the image above you can see a faint shooting star to the lower left of the milky way clouds (kind of tough to see at this size). In the shot below I captured a more obvious shooting star but the overall image is kind of boring.  I did minimal processing on these — noise reduction, slight contrast adjustments.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/michaeltuuk/6894569100/in/photostream/lightbox/

Shooting Star

Advertisements

6 responses

  1. WOW!!! Incredible shot and I would love to capture it….have always been interested in the stars and heavens.:)

    April 2, 2012 at 10:05 pm

  2. super capture – looks fantastic

    April 3, 2012 at 7:56 am

  3. Thanks Michael I’ve never heard of the 600 rule I’ll have to give it a try

    April 4, 2012 at 7:00 am

  4. Thanks all!

    April 4, 2012 at 11:54 am

  5. This is awesome Michael! I gotta try one of these

    April 4, 2012 at 7:39 pm

  6. I’ve recently been thinking about giving this kind of photography a try, and your photos are inspirational. In both, I really like the orange, near radial gradient, color casting out. Excellent.

    April 5, 2012 at 11:38 pm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s