The Milky Way is the first major landmark after capturing stars in astrophotography, depending on where you are in the world. However, capturing it can be tricky, require some know-how, and the right equipment. So, here are five tips to help you get it right.
There's something about astrophotography that I love, and I'm not entirely sure what it is. I doubt it's one thing, and it's likely underpinned by my love for space and science in general, but it is more than that. Finding a dark sky location that is unaffected (or minimally affected) by light pollution, takes some effort for most of us. Then you have to creep out in the middle of the night, set up your gear in the wilderness with no natural light, and often brave the cold. Then you have to get the settings right and wait while the shot is taken, and even then, you don't get to see the true image until you're back home and post-processing (which is extensive in itself!) The whole process is reminiscent of film in the way it has delayed gratification and I enjoy that.
Perhaps it is because I live in a heavily light-polluted country for the most part, but the tip I'd like to highlight is finding the right location. With somewhere that has a truly dark sky, you'll likely not see what you're hoping for and it'll be even harder to capture the contrast with the stars to get a pleasing image. You will then have to contest with the color shift that comes from the generally warm glow of light pollution. There are lots of apps and websites that can help you find the darkest locations near where you live and I promise you it's worth the journey. If you're wanting to capture the Milky Way, you can't have much in the way of man-made lights anywhere nearby.
What's your best tip for capturing the Milky Way?