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.
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.
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