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The Milky Way is on me...

By pcwillows    
I've wanted to take a picture of the Milky Way for years and years. Last week I finally got my chance.

I took another trip to Scotland last week to see my cousin who has cancer. After many trips hoping for some decent conditions over the years when it was either cloudy, raining, blowing a gale or a full moon, conditions proved perfect on just one night of the five I was there this time. The last time I got anything like this up there was when comet Hale-Bopp was doing the rounds in 1996 and I go up on average three times a year!!! As kids we used to spend endless nights 'star gazing' on the Isles of Scilly where he grew up and despite him feeling so crap he took us out around 1am into the darkness of Dumfries & Galloway. What a bloke! There's no way I would have gone out on my own. You never know what's in those woods at night!!!

Anyway, I shot a ton of photos in RAW, all long exposures, in the hope I would get something workable. I knew where to point the camera so the hardest bit was finding some interesting foreground.

The RAW's that came out of the camera weren't all that spectacular and the long exposures (30 seconds at ISO1600) made the photos rather 'noisy'. I've spent a little over two and a half hours processing this single image using Photoshop and Lightroom and Noiseware to remove the 'noise' to get it to look like this so I won't be doing any more of the dozens I shot in a hurry! (If you saw the original you wouldn't think it was the same photo!)

Thanks to the light polution in this country most people will never see the likes of this. This photo is only possible by means of the long exposure. Whilst you can certainly see the Milky Way from the dark skies in Dumfries & Galloway it doesn't look quite like this to the naked eye. It's more of a vast 'cloud' of stars. Most people won't even realise you can see this from the UK. Until this week, I wasn't even sure a photo like this was possible from here. I've only ever seen photos of it taken from the depths of the US or Australia.

This is only a small portion of what you can see of it. The lower part is obscured by trees and large hills but I guess I shouldn't really moan.

Anyway, enough crap. Hope you enjoy the photo which I dedicate to my cousin and mate, Jay. Hope you get better soon mate. Keep on fighting.

Tags: Stars Milky way Night photography Landscape and travel

Voters: jeronius, wyeth, Paintman and 36 more

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jeronius 9 1 1 England
29 Aug 2011 9:43PM
Absolutely astonishing effort, and something I myself have not seen for many years!! I believe I saw it on Dartmoor?

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wyeth 6 Scotland
29 Aug 2011 9:48PM
Very good. I love it.
pcwillows 15 36 United Kingdom
29 Aug 2011 9:49PM
Hey Jerry. How's things?
I'd had this in mind when I was in Northumberland to have the castle as a foreground piece until I realised I would have had to stand a few hundred metres out to sea to get it!!!
Sean_Dillon 9 2 2 England
29 Aug 2011 9:55PM
lil48 8
29 Aug 2011 11:26PM
You should buy your cousin a GEM mount, then it will track it and you could use a lower iso and longer exposure...... my hubby is into astronomy. we have an obs in the back garden.

Crackin shot, you made him jealous LOL
cirrusminor 10 380 3 England
29 Aug 2011 11:29PM
If this was mine id be pleased as punch...

Its alot tougher than it appears... Ive got many examples that look stunning, but only as a thumbnails!

To be there at that moment when the skies are clear, the moon has set and the light polution is low...

Very well taken Smile
eviemay 8 3 United Kingdom
30 Aug 2011 12:51AM
This is superb - we live up near the Trough of Bowland where there is very little light pollution - will give it a try if it ever stops raining !! Malc
ianrobinson Plus
8 1.2k 8 United Kingdom
30 Aug 2011 9:49AM
well done, i congratulate you on your patients it has clearly paid off, although a little sooner might have been better for you i think Wink.


Shroomer 11 14 167 England
30 Aug 2011 12:35PM
Certainly well thought out and a great effort. I have only witnessed this a couple of times in clean air in Norway and the Falkland Islands
Great effort and very well processed
BillM 10 United Kingdom
30 Aug 2011 6:24PM
A mind blowing and excellent shot. Brilliant.
Niknut Plus
8 1.8k 76 United Kingdom
30 Aug 2011 7:07PM
Very beautiful !....very impressive !!!!
beeblebear 7 10 United Kingdom
30 Aug 2011 7:46PM
Well worth all the effort I think for an astonishing shot. Magnificent.
cassiecat 9 39 46 England
2 Sep 2011 7:59PM
certainly worth all your effort. lesley
Nick_w Plus
10 4.3k 99 England
4 Sep 2011 7:43PM
This is something I really want to do at some stage. Twice I've had the privalage to see the Milky way properly with the Naked eye, once in Stonhaven (Scotland) the other Hervey Bay, Queensland, and the later was one of the most amazing experiences I've ever had. There you could see the Milky Way in all its glory - I just starred at it for ages.

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