Written by Kirk Keyes, Rhonda Pierce, Aaron Martinez, Stanley Harper, and MaryBeth Kiczenski.

We at MilkyWayPhotographer.com were chatting the other day, and someone suggested that perhaps nightscape and Milky Way photographers tend to be on the introvert side of personality types. Well, that quickly devolved into a discussion about the properties of a Milky Way photographer. And then a personality test was suggested. After all, who doesn’t enjoy taking personality tests? There’s something enjoyable and self-satisfying about being able to put yourself into a category! It’s as if it’s part of human nature.

We looked high and low, to find a list of psychological traits that applied to nightscape or Milky Way photographers. Carl Jung wrote nothing about it. Neither the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory nor Myers-Briggs addressed it. The Pottermore Wizarding World Sorting Hat quiz does have a question about whether you see the stars or the Moon in an image with both in it. But it didn’t tell you about your Milky Way photographer mindset, only to which Hogwarts House you belonged. The only thing we found that was close was the “You Might Be A Redneck If..” questions Jeff Foxworthy made famous.

So, we came up with a list of things you might relate to if you are into Milky Way photography. Of course, no quiz like this will be completely accurate, but perhaps it will give you some personal insight that’s certainly more accurate than your horoscope. And if not, maybe it will be a fun time waster!

So, here we go –

You Might Be A Milky Way Photographer If…

  1. You feel your best late at night.
  2. You think caffeine is a major food group.
  3. You have more fingers than friends.
  4. You find you do your best thinking during three-minute tracked exposures.
  5. Most of your friends like to stand around all night taking photos of the sky.
  6. You don’t own an f/4 or slower lens.
  7. You know where all your camera buttons are and what their function is with your eyes closed.
  8. You’re well-rested only during monsoon season.
  9. The new moon is circled on your calendar – for the entire year.
  10. You schedule your vacations to coincide with the new moon.
  11. Your favorite t-shirt is your MilkyWayPhotographers.com “f/2.8 or f/1.4 and be there” shirt.
  12. Your friends look at you oddly when you want to discuss the new lens warmer you got.
  13. You have an inverter installed into your car to charge camera batteries.
  14. You salivate when someone says the words “Bortle 2.”
  15. You look forward to having bacon and eggs or cereal for dinner – at 7 AM.
  16. You decide on vehicle mods based on long hours of night driving.
  17. You routinely leave the house at 10 pm for a quickie – and you keep your clothes on. (Unless you are into the “new craze” of naked night sky photography.)
  18. You take a job because the boss lets YOU decide which 8 hours of the day you work.
  19. Your first-date starts to get nervous because you’ve been driving so far away from town, but you only wanted to share how awesome darks skies are.
  20. You purchased your vehicle based upon whether you can comfortably sleep in the back cargo area.
  21. You go hiking only to scout out new views of the Milky Way.
  22. You know how to spot the Big Dipper and the North Star, but you don’t know any of the other nearby stars or constellation. (If you’re in the Southern Hemisphere, you know Octans and nothing else.)
  23. You pick your clothes based on how they look under red light.
  24. When you get home at 4 AM, all smelly and sweaty, you tell your spouse you’re cheating because it’s easier to explain than you were driving several hours to get one photo of the Milky Way.
  25. Your camera only takes decent images when it’s dark out.
  26. You are obsessed with everything in the southeast sky and how structures and the landscapes look facing northwest.
  27. When you mention wanting to get a tracker, your friends start calling you “Dog the Bounty Hunter.”
  28. You cut a hole in your tent roof to see if the sky is clear.
  29. You put off doing the brakes on your car because you need to post last night’s photos you head out again that night.
  30. You live off Monster drinks and Milky Way candy bars.
  31. You rent a campsite with an RV hookup only to charge your camera batteries.
  32. You can tell when a photo of the Milky Way core was shot by where Jupiter, Saturn, and Mars are in it.
  33. You have difficulty reading anything unless it’s under red light.
  34. You show up an hour late for work, and your excuse is, “The Milky Way was out.”
  35. You don’t think twice about crossing two state lines to find dark skies.
  36. You rush to a location to get there before sunset because you want to get the best spot.
  37. You can’t remember the last time you used a shutter speed shorter than one second.
  38. When the most fantastic thunderstorm moves in, and you get annoyed because it’s blocking the Milky Way core.
  39. You buy duct tape with the Milky Way printed on it.
  40. You feel guilty because you didn’t process your photographs when you got home, even though you were up for the last 28 hours.
  41. You picked your camera bag because it has room for a parka.
  42. You fall asleep right after dinner, then at 11 PM you bolt upright, grab your camera bag, and race out the door thinking to yourself, “I’m going to be late and miss the Milky Way core before it sets!”
  43. You plan the time to quit shooting the Milky Way so that you get home in time to see the kids before they head off to school.
  44. Only after sleeping three hours per night for a week straight do you feel like you can use hashtag #megarally.
  45. You have The Photographers Ephemeris, Sun Surveyor, PhotoPills, and PlanIt for Photographers on your phone because you want to check all the possible angles.
  46. Your favorite season is “Milky Way Season.”
  47. You book a campsite only to use the shower and electric, and you never even set up a tent.
  48. You know your camera produces usable images at ISO 36,000.
  49. You have off-camera video lights, flashes, diffusers, and stands, but don’t do portrait photography.
  50. Everything reminds you of Milky Way photography.

Milky Way Photographer Quiz Results

OK – now it’s time for scoring! If you answered “Yes” for the following number of questions:

  • 0: You should try leaving your house when the sun is down.
  • 1-11: Night photography could become a fun, new hobby for you.
  • 12-22: You’re almost an official Milky Way photographer.
  • 23-33: Congratulations on being a well adjusted Milky Way photographer.
  • 34-44: Careful – You might be starting to go off the deep end.
  • 45+: OK – you might want to cut back a bit. Get some sleep, perhaps? Or maybe it’s time for a new hobby? Nahhhh.

Your thoughts?

Did we miss any questions that should be in this quiz? Let us know in the comments section below. We’d like to see what you think!


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