Road to the Milky Way

I had an idea of a picture in my mind – all I needed was clear skies and the type of foreground I was after. After driving around Yarramalong, Kulnura and Somersby for a couple of hours, searching for the right location and waiting for clear skies, I had almost given up and started heading home when I came upon a private road that seemed to clear at the end.

I was in luck – a small gate to negotiate, but then a clear field and the skies started clearing, just enough, at the right time.

A few test shots, and then captured this  – the Road to the Milky Way. A self portrait vertical panorama with the Scorpius and Sagittarius part of the Milky Way bulge rising.

Road to the Milky Way

Road to the Milky Way

EDIT: New version added. This version has much more contrast and colour in the sky.

I was at Somersby now, much further East than I had intended and so the light pollution was terrible – especially when the clouds were around. The lights from Gosford and surrounds reflected terribly.

I had wanted to be out at Yarramalong – I imagined clear dark skies out there with a nice gate or fence or windmill in the foreground. Unfortunately I hadn’t taken into account the difficulty of finding such a site in the night time. It was almost impossible, because I could only see what was right beside the road. I really needed to do my reconnaissance during the day.

It’s not exactly the result I had in my mind; darker skies and a better foreground would’ve been nice, but I’m really happy with the end result, especially given my challenges and frustrations of driving around for 2-3 hours with nothing to show for it. It also gave me some practise with the 5D Mark II and 24mm f/1.4 lens and the type of exposures and ISO needed for these shots.

Technical details about the picture: 2 images, 20s each exposure, ISO3200, f/2.2, Canon 5D Mark II, 24mm f/1.4 lens. Images combined using AutoPano Pro and Processed in Photoshop. The Milky Way part of the image was processed using Gradient Exterminator to help even out the light pollution so I could apply curves and levels.

I’m not sure if there’s too much foreground – I’m wondering whether to crop a bit of the road – what do you think?

Thanks for looking.

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