Basic Milky Way photography is pretty simple. Sure, some things that go into the process such as location, weather, and moon research. Overall though, once you have done it once or twice, it is like riding a bike.
When it comes to taking your Milky Way images from beginner level to “standing ovation” level; there is a little more work that goes into it. Aaron King, one of the proprietors of this excellent website does live videos on YouTube. Every week, Aaron goes live with “Milky Way Wednesday” where he discusses topics related to Milky Way photography.
What is a “Moon Window of Opportunity”?
In one of the more recent videos, Aaron covered “Moon Window of Opportunity.” Aaron discussed the different phases of the moon, their relation to the position of the Milky Way, and the amount of ambient light that is available. Feel free to watch the video:
Aaron presented a lot of information in the video. Once you have gone out several times, or perhaps several years shooting simple images, this information is pretty easy to remember. But when you want to start expanding your techniques and start creating those “standing ovation” images with an illuminated landscape, this information is priceless.
Use Phases of the Moon as Lighting
We may not always be in a position to use Low-Level Landscape Lighting when we are out on location for one reason or another. We may not have the proper lights, or we might be by ourselves. The next best thing to use for illuminating the landscape is to use the ambient light of nautical twilight, or the phases of the Moon, as it is just below the horizon, are in the opposite sky.
I have been playing around with using ambient light to illuminate my foregrounds, but so far, I have not been successful at it. Using the phases of the Moon information that Aaron presented can help me figure out what I need to do to achieve my goal.
You can use to sign up at this link and receive Aaron’s cheat sheet. Even though you will still need an app like Photopills to get the times, you can use the cheat sheet. The sheet compliments the moon information Photopills will provide.
Milky Way Wednesday
Photog Adventures has over a many more Milky Way Wednesday videos on their YouTube Channel. You can see all of them here.
In closing, we have a request to you, the readers out there. Is there a topic, piece of gear, or anything else related to Milky Way photography you would like to read about, hear on the podcast or see on a video? Drop your ideas below in the comment section.