Thursday, September 22, 2016

Milky Way photography close to a city

I often get asked if you need a really dark location to be able to see and shoot the Milky Way. My answer to that question is usually no, it all depends on the amount of light pollution in your area.

A couple of weeks ago I went to a location just 8 km from down town Östersund (A city with a population of 60,000 in the municipality). I could see the Milky Way with my naked eye as a faint band of stars stretching across the sky above our heads. In this photo down town Östersund is to the left just behind me and my friend. The bright light source by the horizon to the right is the setting Moon.

As for shooting the Milky Way you can see by this photo that some light pollution is OK as long as the Milky Way doesn't stretch through it. When editing the photos I was surprised on how low above the horizon the Milky Way was visible, despite being that close to the Moon.

The image below is a panorama made of 12 photos each shot with the same exposure settings, 20 sec. ISO 1600 using a Nikon D810A and a Nikon AF-S 14-24 mm f/2.8 lens at 14 mm f/2.8.

The Milky Way over the city of Östersund

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