Expedition Mt LeConte: The Milky Way, 2 pics

Milky Way From Mt LeConte Composition 2
Milky Way From Mt LeConte Composition 2

The greatest anticipation about my visit to Mt LeConte was capturing starscape compositions of the Milky Way.   And so, that evening, after hiking up to Cliff Top to catch the sunset, I joined two other photographers along with my friend Rick. We all eagerly awaited for the sky to darken and the stars to reveal themselves.  The sky was clear and there is little to no light pollution in the Smoky Mountains.   One of the other photographers had a tracking app, which showed the Milk Way to arrive in the southwest and run overhead to the east.

Milky Way From Mt LeConte Composition 1
Milky Way From Mt LeConte Composition 1

After about an hour and a half after sunset, we were ready.  I took several test exposures between 20 & 25 seconds, at f2.8 (on my new Tamron super-wide) and an ISO setting of 2400.  Zooming in on my test exposures, I could definitely see star trailing, were the starts become elongated from the earth’s rotation.  I ended up with shorter exposures between 10 and 15 seconds at ISO 2400.  In post-production, I lightly darkened and bumped the contrast around the horizon in the first composition.  I also processed both images to emulate Ektachrome slide film; this added a little saturation and contrast punch.

Thanks for visiting my blog!



8 thoughts on “Expedition Mt LeConte: The Milky Way, 2 pics

    1. Thanks Eliza! It’s relatively easy, just need this check list:
      1. Fast lens, wider the better, 2.8 is ideal. Try renting one if you don’t own a fast lens.
      2. Sturdy tripod
      3. Google “light pollution map” to find a good spot near you
      4. Milky Way or Star Finder smart phone or tablet app
      5. Clear weather, Milky Way is best in summer, least in winter.
      6. Cable release or timer function
      7. Set camera to manual exposure, ISO between 2400 – 3200, exposure of around 20 sec.
      8. LED flashlight, to “paint” any foreground subjects of interest.

      I encourage you to give it a shot! (o;

      Liked by 1 person

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