How To Photograph The Milky Way

Ever dream of taking a photo of the milky way but you don’t know where to start? In this article, I will show you the easiest step on how you can capture the beauty of the stars, especially, the Milky Way.

The Lover's Tree

First off, you must know the basics of photography, how the exposure triangle works (shutter speed, ISO, aperture).

What is the exposure triangle?

It is a common way of associating the three variables that determine the exposure of a photograph: aperture, shutter speed, and ISO. One must balance all three of these to achieve a desired result, an adjustment of one requiring adjustments of at least one of the others.

Related image

  • Shutter Speed: the amount of time your camera shutter is open.
  • ISO: the sensitivity of your camera sensor
  • Aperture: the opening of a lens’s diaphragm through which light passes. The wider the opening, the larger amount of light comes in.

Things you need:

  • Camera
  • Wide lens with at least f/3.5 aperture
  • Tripod
  • Intervalometer/Shutter Remote
  • Flashlight

Planning: When and Where to Shoot

  • There are some things you need to consider in order to photograph the stars.
  • A place where there is less to zero light pollution.
  • A day when. the moon sets early, or a day that is set to have a new moon.
  • Best time to shoot Milky Way is between the months of March and October, this is when it shines the brightest and most visible.

Step 1: Test Shot

Set your camera settings to the following values:

  • ISO: 2000
  • Aperture: 2.8 (or the wider your camera can)
  • Shutter speed: Compute your camera shutter speed by dividing 500 by the focal length of your lens. Example: 500/18mm = 27.xx secs.

Once you’ve set your camera settings, focus on a distant light or set your lens focus to infinity. One technique I am doing is that I ask my friend to go few meters away from the camera and hold a flashlight and then I will focus at him/her. Once I am satisfied with the sharpness of the focus, I set my camera to manual to avoid the settings to be altered. You should also set your white balance into fix value, you can always change it in post. Also, you should always shoot in RAW so it is easier for you to adjust all the values and information stored by your camera.

Step 2.0: Shooting the Milky Way

Now that you’ve set your camera settings, you can now photograph the Milky Way. You can use a star tracker app like Stellarium in order to determine the position of the Milky Way and what time it will rise.

milky way
The Billion Star Hotel

Step 2.1: Shooting Timelapse

In order to shoot a star timelapse, you need to have a shutter remote or intervalometer so you can control you camera shutter without moving or shaking the camera. An intervalometer can also help set the interval and number of shots of your camera without needing to monitor it every shot.

Star Trails
My first attempt doing a star trail timelapse. πŸ™‚ 100 photos stacked using StarStax app.

In my case, I am using a Fujifilm X-T10 with 18-55mm f/2.8 lens, which has a built-in intervalometer. In order to get your desired output, you should remember that 1 second is equals to 24 still photos. So if you are planning to have a 5 second video timelapse, you should shoot the milky way 120 times.

1 second = 24 photos

Step 3.0: Post-processing Your Milky Way Shot

There are a lot of tools you can use to post-process your photos, in my case, I’ll be using Adobe Lightroom because I find it easy to adjust settings and color correct the images. If you are into presets, you can easily apply it to your photos and adjust it to your liking.

Under the cosmos. #astrophotography #milkyway #camping

A post shared by Paolo Imbag ?? (@paoloimbag) on

The main variables I adjust when editing a milky way shot is just the basic stuff:

  • White balance
  • Exposure
  • Contrast
  • HSL (Hue Saturation Luminance)
  • Clarity
  • Blacks & Whites
  • Highlights & Shadows

Once I am satisfied with my adjustments, I will apply my final touches and share it on the internet. πŸ˜›

Step 3.1: Creating a Timelapse Video

Assuming that you have post process every photo in your timelapse, you can now open your video editing software (in my case, it’s Adobe Premiere Pro), and import the first photo. Don’t forget to import it as an image sequence so your software knows that it is a video clip/timelapse. By default, it is set to 25fps.

Apply all the necessary adjustments you need and then export your clip at 24fps. πŸ™‚

Step 3.2: Stacking Your Images (Star Trails)

This one is super easy. You just have to download a star stacker app caller StarStax, then drag and drop your timelapse sequence to the app, then execute the process. Once it’s done processing your star trail, you can now export it to your computer and share it to your friends.

star stax milky way star trails
star stax milky way star trails

Download the StarStax App here.


So there you have it! If ever you are confused with the steps I listed above, or have any question regarding astrophotography, don’t hesitate to message me on facebook. πŸ™‚

Follow me on instagram: @paoloimbag and @itineraryph

 

#BestOfPH2 – Show Off Your Best Shot of the Philippines

Our country is composed of over 7,000 islands, meaning that there are so many places that we can visit and explore, and are worth sharing. Now, we are calling all of the travellers out there to share us your best shot of the Philippine Travel Destination to showcase the hidden charm of our beloved country.

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Mt. Lubog

So here’s the contest mechanics:

  • One should submit their best photo of the Philippines. One entry per person only.
  • Entry must be in high resolution with 1920px on the longest side.
  • Landscape oriented shots are highly preferred.
  • Entry must be his/her original work. We will be not liable for any copyright complaints for submitting photos that are not yours. Your entry will be subjected to disqualification if proven so.
  • Photo must be taken here in the Philippines (obviously).
  • Together with your entry, you must write a short description/story about that photo. Entries without description will automatically disqualified.
  • Only minimal photo improvements are advisable, intense post processing may ruin your photo and will not be selected at all. Minor lighting, exposure, contrast and highlights improvement will be accepted.
  • Composite photo entries are accepted as long as it is not manipulated.
  • You must send you entries to bestofph@itinerary.phΒ with a subject containing your entry name. Example: Best Of Philippines – <Entry Name>
  • By submitting your entry, you are agreeing that we can share your photos anywhere to our social media accounts and website. We will give due credits and you still have the ownership of your photo.
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Mt. Pamitinan

How are we going to choose the winner:

  • Entries will undergo into 3 stages.
    • The Initial Screening
      • Here, we will select entries that met the mechanics above.
      • All photos that passed the initial screening will be posted on our facebook page for the second stage.
    • The Second Stage.
      • Once photos are posted on our facebook page, it can now be shared and top 20 entries with the highest score will pushed to the final stage.
      • Scores will be based on the combined number of vote and judges score.
      • 1 Facebook reaction = 1 vote
      • Facebook Reaction = 40% of the total score.
      • Judges Score = 60% of the total score.
    • The Final Stage
      • Once we’re done determining the top 20 entries, they will be again reposted on our facebook page, and will be voted for 1 week.
      • Scores will be back to 0.
      • Same process as in the second stage will be followed in determining the winner. Facebook votes (40%) + Judges Score (60%) = Winner (100%).
itinerary-philippines-mt.batulao-mt-talamitam-day-hike-cover
Mt. Batulao

Prizes

There will be 3 main prizes for the top 3 photos that will win, and will definitely be a useful piece for travelling. And there will also be 7 consolation prizes for photos that are in the top 10.

First Prize – TBA + printed copy of your entry.
Second Prize – TBA + printed copy of your entry.
Third Prize – TBA + printed copy of your entry.
Consolation Prizes – TBA

#OnTheList: 10 Travel Destinations You Can Visit With Php 22k! Nagsasa Cove
A less than 30 minute trek in Nagsasa Cove where you can see a really nice view of the Island. Best for sunrise and sunset watching. Entrance fee here is Php 40.00

Contest Duration

  • Deadline of submission of entries is until the November 31st.
  • Initial Screening will take 5-7 days depending on the number of entries received.
  • Photos that are selected in the Initial Screening will be posted on December 7th, 2017.
  • Voting and judging of photos for the second stage will start on December 7th until December 14th.
  • Top 20 photos will be reposted on December 15th are will be up again for voting and judging until December 31st.
  • Winners will be announced on January 1st, 2018.

Non-compliance of the above mechanics will lead to disqualification. If you have any questions about the contest, you may email us at bestofph@itinerary.phΒ or you may directly message us on our facebook page.

We are looking forward to seeing your best shots of the Philippines and we can’t wait to share it to the world.

* Mechanics and Prizes are subject to change without prior notice.

#PhotoContest: Best of Philippines!

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We all have our favorite shot of the Philippines that we took during our travels. This photos serves as our souvenirs of our adventure and a reminder of how beautiful our country is.

We are calling all travelers to send us your favorite travel photo here in the Philippines, and get a chance to win a 6×6 softcover photo book fromΒ Photobook Worldwide so you can get your travel photos printed as a physical souvenir.

photobook

Mechanics on how to join the contest.
β€” Submit a high resolution image of your best travel photo.
β€” Must be at least 1024×768Β in dimension or higher.
β€” Must be taken here in the Philippines
β€” Must be your own photo
β€” Entries should have the following details:
β€’ Name of the place and where it was taken
β€’ A short description/story of the photo
β€’ Why it is your best photo of the Philippines
β€” Photos should have minimal post processing, and should keep the natural appearance of the scene.
β€” No photo-manipulation, no composite.
β€” Participants can only send 1 entry.
β€” Deadline of submission of entries is until October 31, 2016.
β€” Voting is from November 5, 2016 to November 15, 2016
β€” Announcement of winner is on November 20, 2016

[Updated October 24, 2016. 01:46 PM]

 

Criteria for judging:
β€” Creativity
β€” Composition
β€” Originality
β€” Overall impact

Percentage of scores:
30% – Facebook Votes
70% – itinerary.ph team judges’ score

There will be two (2) winners (3rd and 2nd place) of one (1) soft cover photo book from Photobook Worldwide, and a print of their best photo of the Philippines, and the best photo will win one (1) soft cover photo book and his photo to be printed on wood mount frame.

Send your entries to bestofph@itinerary.ph with the following details:
Subject: Best of Philippines β€” [Name of Participant]
β€’ Name of the place and where it was taken
β€’ A short description/story of the photo
β€’ Why it is your best photo of the Philippines

By sending your entries, you are giving us permission to use your photo and post it on our social media accounts. Don’t worry, we will not use it to gain any monetary value.

So, what are you waiting for? Send us your best shot of the Philippines and win these cool prizes!