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Durdle Door & The Milky Way - Opportunity is Everything

By Johnnybairdphotography
It can seem rather silly to get so excited about having the opportunity to photograph the Milky Way. Yet, my friend Felix and I were like big kids when we had the opportunity to spend time under the stars on Sunday night/Monday morning at the iconic Durdle Door (on the UK’s Jurassic coast.) Booking the 2 ½ day trip well in advance, expectations had to managed as to whether we would get the right conditions. When you consider the conditions needed to achieve the image you are after, and the UK’s weather, it’s best to prepare yourself that things may not work out. Naturally we had more planned, but a big drive was to achieve an image of the Milky Way core rising behind Durdle door.

Sunday came and the clouds cleared significantly as the day progressed, it was looking good … very good, too good, would it all fall apart at the critical moment? Satellite imagery was great for the coming night; excitement was becoming palpable, yet we dared not to tempt the gods. But, things indeed did stay fantastic, and now the pressure was on – this would be only my second opportunity to shoot the Milky Way so far this season, and likely the last until August. Checks were made, re-checked, and triple checked: was focus nailed? Was the composition spot on? Was the tripod leveled? I’m certain Felix was scunnered by the time I finally said I was ready to expose. Composition was fairly obvious; in fact I had played everything through in my head repeatedly, including how I wanted to tackle the Milky Way. We were prepared – we just needed the opportunity, and we had been given it. When it comes to landscape photography, and astrophotography, technical prowess is one thing – but opportunity is everything.

[link removed by ePz]
Extended EXIF

Nikon D850 + Nikkor 24 – 70mm f2.8 lens + iOptron Pro star tracker

Foreground: 6 image pano. 35mm, ISO2000, f4, 6 minutes. Shot around midnight on the beach.

Sky: 6 image pano. 35mm, ISO1600, f2.8, 90s. Shot after foreground completed. I moved up on the cliff above the beach (just above where I had shot the foreground) to allow an easier blend of sky and foreground. Shot as a ‘pano’, but never intended to be a pano.

Basic edit in LR, blend in PS6, fine edit in PS6.

Tags: Seascape Night Dorset Long exposure Astro Stars Astrophotography Milky way Durdle door Jurassic coast Landscape and travel

Voters: youmightlikethis, flowerpower59, Philip_H and 70 more

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18 May 2018 9:12PM
Absolutely fantastic, stunning and the narrative helps with the appreciation. I can almost feel your adrenaline as you prepare for and expose the shot.
Philip_H 9 1.5k United Kingdom
18 May 2018 9:15PM
Awe inspiring capture.

P Grin
franken Plus
19 5.3k 4 United Kingdom
18 May 2018 9:26PM
Truly amazing!
Joline Plus
15 37 59 United States
18 May 2018 10:12PM
This is magnificent. I would be excited too, and to be rewarded with such wonderful results!
Leedslass1 Plus
5 3.6k 3 United Kingdom
18 May 2018 10:55PM
Superb astrophotography!
Chinga Plus
10 3 2 United Kingdom
19 May 2018 1:14AM
Inspirational work! Beautifully done...
Good image produced, Isabel GrinGrinGrin
19 May 2018 5:51AM
Stunning photography
sawsengee 15 6 40 Malaysia
19 May 2018 8:05AM
amazing capture & visual splendour Smile
TornadoTys 6 208 1 United Kingdom
19 May 2018 8:25AM
A well stitched pano and very well done in calculating the shutter value.
Alison_S 15 339 United Kingdom
19 May 2018 8:26AM
Beautiful work.....magical! Smile
RobboB Plus
14 133 United Kingdom
19 May 2018 9:19AM
Considerable effort involved in this and well worth it. Wonderful image
Tonyd3 17 1.1k 18 United Kingdom
19 May 2018 10:33AM
This makes for a super image, and very worthy of all the award received for sure but I would like to offer some advice for you future astro shots mainly in the later blending of your images together.

Take note of the lighting on both images as at present it is not quite right, on the end of the rock there is light but no match from the sky as there is no moon light the only light you have is from the galaxy.

So the options are to move your galaxy sky over to the right and extend the left hand side in the sky and also to add some light on the top of the rocks where the brightest part of the galaxy is on the horizon.

Please dont take my advice as a negative as this is inspirational, I hope that by pointing this out you will realise how this can be adjusted to make a far superior image, I do a lot of composite stuff going back many years and learnt the hard way about getting the lighting right.
Thank you all for your comments, they are very much appreciated! Tonyd3, the light on the rocks is from Weymouth and Portland which are close by (perpendicular or so to durdle door.)
SlowSong Plus
13 9.8k 30 England
19 May 2018 7:31PM
Bronx 4 United States
19 May 2018 9:18PM
RLF Plus
11 18 4 United Kingdom
20 May 2018 8:35AM
Top notch shot showing all the glory of heaven and earthTongue
20 May 2018 12:14PM
Surely a POTW contender😊😊?
teepee 18 1.6k England
20 May 2018 12:54PM
FANTASTIC IMAGE..............
janlea 9 3 United Kingdom
20 May 2018 7:25PM
An absolutely stunning image Smile
Outlander 12 97
27 May 2018 8:48AM
Aced it Johnny 👍.

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