On the Road is a weekday feature spotlighting reader photo submissions.
From the exotic to the familiar, whether you’re traveling or in your own backyard, we would love to see the world through your eyes.
For many, the change of season from Winter to Spring is signaled by longer days and the rebirth of plant life; for me it is the beginning of Milky Way core season. For me, the past few months of shooting the Milky Way have been a bit like starting over. Sure, I’ve been heading out to the dark skies for the past 6 years, but I’m shooting them with a new camera and have quite a few more options available to me. I’ve had to learn which settings work and which ones don’t, when to include filters to reduce light pollution and how they affect the shot. The biggest advantage so far has been the ability to capture foregrounds with no light that was impossible with the crop sensor Samsung cameras(I’d have to shoot foregrounds with the Sun a bit closer to the horizon). I’ve shot at all of these locations in the past.
All shots were taken with a Sony A7iv and a Tamron 17-28mm lens at 17mm except where noted.
This is the earliest shot I’ve taken of the Milky Way core rising just prior to the Sun rising to the point that it washes out the stars. I had a rough night attempting to shoot the green comet due to strong wind at every location that I stopped at.
I purchased the Sony just before Thanksgiving and also purchased a set of clip in filters on Black Friday, one of the filters in the set is a light pollution filter. I decided to try this filter out at the coast where light pollution is really bad considering the position of the Milky Way this time of year relative to Los Angeles.
Each time I head out to shoot, I try something a bit different; this time I set up the tracker to shoot 8 one minute exposures or the sky with a 4 minute foreground exposure.
After finishing my shift at the Home of the Orange Apron, I headed out into the darkness of Lockwood Valley and the Boy Scout Camp Road. There actually is a Boy Scout camp at the end of the road, Camp Three Falls, that I camped at when I was a Boy Scout 50 years ago. This time I used a “Red Intensifier” filter that I bought years ago for my Rokinon 12mm lens(it is the same thread size as the Tamron lens). I set up the tracker and shot 8, two minute exposures and a four minute foreground exposure.
This was intended as a companion piece for my shot of Orion from my March 29th OTR submission, that being the Winter sky and this being the Spring sky from the same location, the ore loader at Kearsarge. I shot 16, 13 second exposures for the sky, one 4 minute exposure for the foreground base and several light painting shots around the ore loader.
Another shot of the ore loader, this time with my new 11mm fisheye lens(I got it the day before I went on this shoot). The fisheye was the last lens that I needed to fully replicate the focal range that I had with the Samsung cameras(11mm on the full frame is actually wider than the 10mm on the crop sensor). This was shot with 16, 20 second exposures for the sky and a 5 minute exposure for the ground. At the left edge of the shot, just above the horizon you can see the Andromeda galaxy.
The other lens that is a more recent acquisition is a telephoto lens(Tamron 70-300mm), that I got in January. I hadn’t used it at night before. This is a shot of the area around Antares(the bright star that you can see to the right of the Milky Way core in Milky Way shots). The bright “star” in the shot right of center is a globular cluster of stars, Antares is just below and to the left on center. This is composed of 30, two minute exposures(yes, 1 hour of shooting) with the star tracker at 135mm. When I had finished shooting, I noticed quite a bit of star trailing in the shot, but stacking seems to have eliminated most of that and I think I got a pretty good shot.