This is been written about 100’s of times but I’ve been asked a few times how I created the photo of the Milkway. So here is how I did it.
This is the hard part. Find a dark sky. The amount of light leakage is unbelieve from street lamps towns and cities, so even when you think you’re in complete darkness you might be surprised that you’re not. Also don’t try this when the moon is out.
The Milkway isn’t visible to us all year round in the northern hemisphere. So the best time is around February, March to September.
A digital camera that allows you to control the ISO setting. One preferably that has a good high ISO capability.
Use a fast wide angle lens. One with a maximum aperture of f2.8. Though I have shot the milkway with a 24mm-105mm f4. But the bigger the aperture the better the light gathering capabilities
This is quite obvious but a good tripod.
Open the lens up to infinity. Check the focus as best you can. If you have live view even better.
Set your ISO to 3200 to begin with. Depending on your camera this is a good place to start. Depending on how 3200 ISO is with your camera you can raise the ISO or if 3200 produces a lot of noise you can try lowering this.
Set a long shutter speed. This is how you will capture as much light as possible. However there is a problem. The longer the exposure the more chance you will have star trails in your photos. The reason for this is the earth is rotating. To get as sharp and pin point stars as possible use something called “the 500 rule.” For this you to divide 500 by the focal length of the lens you’re using. So for example, if you have a 24mm lens on a full-frame camera, you will set your shutter speed to 20 sec. (500/24 = 20.83). See below
Set your aperture as wide as possible. So f1.4 or f2, or 2.8 or even f4.
Compose your shot and away you go.
It’s more than likely the first few shots won’t have the correct exposure. So here you will need to identify the problem. Such as increase the ISO. If there is too much noise decrease the ISO. If it’s under exposed increase the shutter speed but be aware of the possibilities of star trails.
You will need to process your image. You may be surprised what image actually comes out your camera. The image will no doubt have an orange or possibly yellow tint to it. Here you will need to play around with your colour balance settings in your editing software.