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Getting the best Milky Way photo is not easy. Need tenacity, technique and a little luck. Here are some things that need to be considered for photographing the Milky Way.

Ever traveled to a place far from the city, then looked at the sky at night and then saw many stars accompanied by thin white mist? That is the milky way or the term in Indonesian is the “Bima Sakti”. Night photography lovers usually make milky way photos as one of their masterpieces.

Milky Way Lokasi Citumang Pangandaran
Milky Way Lokasi Citumang Pangandaran

Who is not amazed by the photos of the magnificent background of a star that looks very bright at night Actually, anyone who has a camera with manual settings can take pictures of the Milky Way as long as they understand the technique.

With camera technology that is increasingly sensitive to low-light conditions, we can easily capture these stars in the photo frame.

There are several things that must be considered if you want to get the best Milky Way photos, including :

  • The main requirement for being able to see and take pictures of the Milky Way is at night.
  • The second condition is the absence of the moon, moonlight, especially during the full moon. Full moon light will make it difficult to see Milkyway. Look for the dead moon phase, because this is where the sky will be free from the moonlight. Use the month calendar application available to find out when the month is dead and when the full moon is.
  • The third condition is to calculate when the milky way starts to appear. Milky way always moves from east to west with the south as its axis.

The Milky Way has a different issue every month. In the initial month, such as January, February, March, April, the milky way began to appear around 1:00 to 4:00. Whereas in September, October, November and surrounding areas, usually the Milky Way starts to appear around 7:00 p.m.

Milky Way began to appear around 1:00 to 4:00.
Milky Way began to appear around 1:00 to 4:00.

Take advantage of applications such as the stelarium to find out the time of publication of the milky way from a predetermined location. In addition, to get a good milky way photo, take a photo from a place that is not much light pollution, such as a beach facing the open ocean, a mountain far from the city, or a remote village. Shooting from urban areas is not a good idea because city light makes starlight not clearly visible.

Here’s how to take pictures of the Milky Way for those of you who just know photography :

  1. Taking a picture of Milky Way doesn’t have to use DSLR or Mirrorless anyway, using a smartphone is also possible, To take pictures of the Milky Way using a smartphone, use applications such as “Manual” on iOS and “Camera FV-5” on Android. These applications provide more maximum control of the camera as in a DSLR. ISO, shutter speed, white balance, and all the focus methods we can set. It’s just that, even though you already use the application, your smartphone’s camera specifications will greatly affect the results. So basically, don’t expect too much when photographing the milky way using a smartphone.
  2. Take a photo during the ‘new moon’ phase or when the moon doesn’t appear at all. When the full moon arrives, the moonlight shines so bright that it can cover the starlight. The clear sky will not reveal stars, let alone the Milky Way. So, you can hunt miky way on a mountain or at sea during a new moon.
  3. Look for a place that has minimal light pollution. Places in heights such as hills or mountains are the right place to take pictures of the milky way. Or places that lack other light pollution such as on the beach and extensive grasslands.
  4. Adjust the camera at the largest lens opening. The aperture on the camera is marked with the letters ‘f ’and numbers. The smaller the number behind the letter f, the larger the lens opening. If the openings are getting bigger, the ‘caught’ light will be even more numerous. Adjust to the concept of the photo you want.
  5. ISO camera settings. Since the atmosphere must be very dark when shooting a milky way, you must use a high ISO to capture the moment. In low / mid end DSLR cameras for beginners, most ISOs are stuck at 12800 or some can be up to 25600. However, do not set up to the maximum number because it is certain the results will be full of ‘white spots’ or ‘noise’. To take pictures of the Milky Way, try adjusting it in the ISO 800 – 1600 range. Although there may still be a little noise, it is better than your dark photo because your ISO setting is too low.
  6. Use a tripod. MANDATORY! Unless you do conceptualize your full blur milky way photo.
  7. Set the shutter speed at a speed of 15-20 seconds. This shutter speed setting is related to light problems that must be ‘captured’. Minimal lighting conditions such as when shooting a milky way, set your shutter speed to 15-20 seconds to get a more sharp result.
  8. (Don’t) use the flash to shoot the foreground. If there are other objects (other than miky way) that you really want to display (for example, like my photo above), you should use the LED light as a lighting aid. We can control lighting through LED and stabilize the intensity of the light, rather than flash.

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Pangandaran Golden Visage

Official Site of PT GALUH PERSADA Tourism Information based in Pangandaran Regency, West Java – Indonesia, Managed by Iwa Purwana Suganda (LWG) HPI and Team – experts from Indonesia Tours and Adventures who have worked in the Indonesian tourism industry for years and have an excellent track record in serving travelers from all over the world.

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