Photo Guide: Astro Photography Part 2

Milky Way and clouds with two people with bicycles

A while back, we created a post describing where to get SWEET Milky Way shots in New Jersey. (Check it out here!) Part 2 of the guide will teach you exactly what settings and gear you may want to try when it comes to shooting The Galaxy.

Let’s Recap:

What you should be looking for before starting to tackle the night sky.

  1. Clear sky.

  2. NEW MOON.

  3. Areas with low light pollution.

What To Pack For Shooting The Milky Way

A popular application that is used to check where the Milky Way will be is Stellarium, so before you head out, check that app out, and see when you will arrive and if the Milky Way will be visible from there. So, you checked Stellarium, the Milky Way will be visible but you have no idea what to pack or how to shoot it. Don’t worry, we got you covered!

First and foremost, safety. When taking shots of the Milky Way you are rarely ever moving too much, so if you’re shooting on a cold winter night (especially by the beach) we suggest dressing as warm as possible. So pack your jacket, gloves, scarf, hat, whatever you think will keep you warm. There’s nothing worse than feeling so uncomfortable you can’t even shoot.

Your camera bag, you’re going to want to pack a lens that can handle the night sky, personally I love the Tokina 11-16 f.2.8. The low aperture means it can handle low light situations well, and the wide angle means getting more of that Milky Way in the frame. However, you can use a lens that goes up to 50mm, and zoom in on a cluster of stars. Okay, you threw that in the bag, now what? Don’t forget your tripod! Without it, you will have extreme difficulty getting any shot you want, unless you place the camera on the floor, or on a bench. Also, be sure to pack a flashlight, or headlamp!

Got it? Good! Now, lets get in the car, and head out to Ocean City, NJ. 

How To Start Shooting The Milky Way

Grab, your bag, step out of the car, and take a moment to admire the sky. Look how your surroundings, and the sky. Depending where you are you will be able to see what looks like a cloud going across the sky. That cloud is the Milky Way.

Okay! You’ve spotted it! Great! Set up your shot, which will ultimately be up to you.

So, as far as your settings go, you’ll want to be shooting with a high ISO, anywhere from 800-2400 will do. Your aperture should be as low as it can go. With your shutter speed ranging from 20- wherever you feel comfortable.

Set your shot up, take a few test shots either using your cameras self timer, or a remote if you have one. See, if your composition is right, and adjust from there!

With some trial and error you’ll be getting amazing shots in no time!


What’s in the bag:

  1. If you’re shooting on a cold winter night, dress warm.
  2. Pack a flashlight.
  3. A wide angle lens with a low aperture.
  4. A tripod.

How to shoot:

  1. Check the night conditions.
  2. Get to your spot.
  3. Locate the Milky Way (even if it’s early), and compose your shot however you’d like.
  4. Keep that aperture open, and the shutter going longer with a high ISO.

If you missed Part 1 of our Astrophotography Guide, be sure to check it out.

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