Milky Way and Star Trails

The milky way Saturday night over a corn field I have been eyeing for the right night …The moon didn’t rise until 3:30 am, making for a stunningly dark and star studded sky. The Milky Way, in turn, contrasted favorably against the night..

I was creating 2 star trail images for a total of 2 hours prior to single images of the milky way. Stars require roughly 15 seconds of exposure – 20 (depending upon the lens used) .. quite different than my 2 hour + star trails.

I am putting those together .. haven’t even begun that task yet of combining a number of 4 minute exposures into one image ..

Techie stuff:

Nikon D810

Gitzo tripod

17-35 mm f/2.8 lens at 17mm

15 seconds


ISO 5000

vello remote shutter release

milky way over rural corn field
“He telleth the number of the stars; he calleth them all by their names.” ‭‭Psalms‬ ‭147:4‬ ‭KJV‬‬

I use TPE (the photographers ephemeris app (as well as photo pills)) very often to plan where I want to be to photograph the moon, stars, etc.

I’ve posted a snap of where the Milky Way was when I photographed this image. I am facing South. See how the milky way is exactly where this app says it will be at 11:15. It also tells me the azimuth and the altitude of the galactic center and moon (which has not risen yet).

Polaris is behind me and if I had wanted to create circular star trails I would have faced North. Where I was facing I will have an arc of star trails .. you will see once I work and post the image (the one that took me 2 hours to make).

You will note how helpful it is to be able to utilize an app such as this to locate and pre-visualize a composition that our eyes cannot see!

… And star trails that we can never see visually. Can you imagine how it would be if we could literally blend time within our own visual ability? We’d see the patterns the Lord creates!




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