12 Oct Florida Milky Way Astrophotography
Getting good clear sky shots in Florida is next to impossible most of the year and in most of the accessible locations. Several factors need to align to be able to capture the clarity and number of clear sky stars without the aid of a tracking scope mount and that would preclude any stationary foreground subjects in the shot! I journeyed several hours in the middle of the night upon seeing the weather forecast, hoping for the right combination and it paid off! What you need to get shots like these are dark skies. That means the obvious, no lights, no moon. When I say no lights I mean for many, many miles. What looks like a distant town in these shots was a dim flicker to the naked eye several miles away yet you can see how much shows up in just a short 15 second exposure. Light is most important to be able to see the whole sky. When you are ANYWHERE near city or town lights or anything polluting the sky upward, you can NOT see all the stars nor capture them with clarity. A long exposure shot will simply look like a daytime sky with stars. That’s what makes this so tough, because Florida has only 4-5 locations to even begin to see dark skies. It’s simply too lit up, you need to go out of state to get better results such as up north or out west.
It also takes good equipment, this is one area where size does matter and so does your equipment. What you need is wide, fast glass and a VERY good sensor in the camera, modern full frame models are best. 2.8 or faster lenses are required. If you didn’t guess that means very expensive stuff so it’s unlikely you will be doing this unless you already have the gear. Most of the shots this night were taken at 17mm f/2.8 @ 20 sec. ISO 1600 with a Canon 7D.