I just returned from Utah, where I brought a group of clients to participate in a night sky photography workshop. The dark skies of Utah near Moab are perfect for photographing stars and the Milky Way, and we were fortunate enough not to have any issues with clouds. For each of our three evenings, we went do different locations where we could compose interesting star shots with silhouettes of amazing rock formations.
I thought I’d share some of my images here. You can see more of them at my Facebook and Instagram pages, too. My upcoming workshops and safaris are listed here.
Night photography is fun, especially shooting the magical Milky Way. Unfortunately, night photography is also hard unless you are prepared in advance. To photograph the Milky Way, you need to be somewhere dark. In the summer, when the nights are warm, it often isn’t truly dark until after 10pm. That means this time of year is perfect, as the nights are just starting to get longer but temperatures are still fairly warm. You also want to make sure there is no moon to spoil the starlight. I use The Photographer’s Ephemeris to determine when astronomical twilight ends (this is when it gets very dark), and for moon information.
When you have an opportunity to get out to somewhere where it’s dark; and I mean dark, astrophotography is really quite fun. I shot this image with a Nikon D800e camera and 16-35mm f/4 AFS G VRII zoom Nikkor lens. I processed the RAW (NEF) image in Lightroom 4 and then used Viveza 2 and Color Efex Pro 4 to polish it off in post.