One of my goals this summer was to photograph the Milky Way at the Old Fisherman’s Shack at Stoney Point on Lake Superior’s North Shore. This image required lots of advance planning. First and foremost, one needs the Milky Way to be in the correct position. Only in early summer is the core of the Milky Way both above the horizon and due south. Later in the summer, the arch of the Milky Way moves to the southwest making this photograph impossible due to light pollution from Duluth.
In addition, one needs a clear night without moonlight. Last night the “stars aligned” (sorry about the pun)! The moon set shortly before midnight, and the core of the Milky Way was above the horizon from midnight to 2:00 am. Most of my research using an app called PlanIt for Photographers. It allowed me to perform my research and insure it was worth getting out of bed at 12:15 am for my drive up the shore.
Using my Sony A6000 and Rokinon 12 mm lens, my camera settings for this first image were ISO of 3,200; Aperture of 2.0; and an Exposure of 15 seconds. I did not use any light painting in this photograph. The windows of the shack are lit and reflecting distant ambient light. Both images are single photographs. I did not stack multiple photos to achieve my results.
For my second photograph I switched from landscape to portrait mode which allowed me to capture more of the Milky Way. As I intended to briefly light paint the shack, I reduced my ISO to 1,600, but increased the exposure to 25 seconds. Any exposure over 25 seconds would tend to smudge my stars (i.e. star trails would start to form).