I just want to start again by stating, I am not a writer. For that matter, I am not much of a speaker either. I express myself through video, and (more recently) photography... or at least I try to. // see samples below
Lately, I have again taken a huge interest in documenting the night sky. I got into it when I was a bit younger, a bit more "amateurish", and when technology had a long way to go. I captured some images while still living in Buffalo but to be honest I was too self-conscious to share. Still am. Not to mention, platforms like Instagram and Facebook were in their early stages as well.
Fast forward 10+ years and here I am, Rhode Island, home to some of the darkest skies in the United States. In fact, a lot of the fascinating Milky Way images you see come from right here in Rhode Island. We are home to some great Observatories; Frosty Drew is one of my favs. We are also home to, multi-talented photographer MIKE COHEA, who I need to give HUGE props to for the inspiration to get out there and shoot. Click his image below to follow his work, it's worth it!
So there I was, Thursday night, 12am, pitch black, scaling the rocky walls at the Bonnet Shores of Rhode Island, (which I don't recommend by the way). About an hour later we are far enough away from light-pollution to make our time worthwhile. I take the 5 minutes or so to let my eyes adjust to the pitch black, I look up, and I am amazed! Blown away. Hooked. It took a little while to actually remember why I was there, I take out my camera, do some adjusting, take a photo and again I am amazed, blown away, hooked. The things these cameras are able to capture in low-light now a days is a bit scary. But the back of my screen looks like something out of a fairy tale and I freakin' love it. I brought a few cameras with me so I set one up on a mini tripod, set up the timer and off it goes. I took some more images with my secondary camera and three hours later, called it a night. The results of that night, the first in a long-long time, are below.
I've been back out to capture the milky way a dozen more times since. I recently started working with the sun and moon as well with some very mixed results. Needless to say, I am a bit of a nerd for the universe at this point. Bonus: I even began incorporating it into my wedding and commerical videography, lucky you!
With all that being said, and for those of you who still want a bit more info on how all of this work and what I mean when I say "Milky Way" here it is... When you go out on a dark night and find yourself peering out over the ocean or some other location away from all the light pollution here in Rhode Island, 9/10 times you will see some part of what we refer to as the "Milky Way." -Technically speaking, we all live in the Milky Way Galaxy. But in terms of photography and videography, the "Milky Way" refers to the faint milky-colored band, approximately 30 degrees wide, arching across the sky at just about all times (but visible only at night if you are far enough away from light pollution). This is the region you typically see featured in the dramatic astrophotography images that have become so popular in recent years.
With a pretty decent low light DSLR Camera capable of shooting RAW and a fast enough lens, I am capable of bringing some of these images to life :)
BTW, although the core can be the most interesting part of your photo, that doesn't mean you can't get some awesome night time photos in other ways. Below are a couple examples of what a crisp star-filled sky looks like without the Milkyway and another image of the night-sky popping with color.
The first time I laid eyes on the colored band of the Milky Way I was completely amazed. I was hooked! The beauty was something to behold, something to cherish, something to capture and share with the world... Well my friends, here is me sharing, enjoy!