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User / MikeJonesPhoto / Starry Starry Night
Mike Jones / 3,304 items
The Milky Way... I've been wanting to try this ever since I got this amazing new camera three months ago. To push the camera to the absolute minimum amount of light possible, and see what it can pull out of it. The results absolutely blew my mind!!! In New Jersey, on a clear night you can see 4 or 5 stars. After spending most of my life there, I am just mesmerized when I look up at the night sky in the mountains out west. Being up over 6000 feet elevation, where the air is thin and clear, hundreds of miles from city lights. A couple nights ago, I looked up at one of the clearest, darkest night skies I had ever seen. The moon was not out yet. There was the milky way, streaking across the middle of the sky like a streaky white cloud. I figured, now's the time. Let's give this a try. I aimed the camera almost straight up towards the Milky Way, and Jupiter. I used my 50mm f1.4 lens, with the f-stop wide open. I was worried about the focus, which is critical at f1.4. To my amazement, Jupiter was so bright, my autofocus was actually able to focus on it. Jupiter is always easy to spot. It's the brightest thing in the sky.

So... The exposure. 10 seconds, f1.4, ISO 800. This camera had virtually no noise at 800 ISO. I pulled it up in Photoshop. At first the smaller stars were faint. All I did was start cranking up the contrast, and all these distant stars started appearing, and the faint cloud of the milky way just exploded to life, it's the diagonal lighter stripe going across the frame. I went back outside and looked at that same section of the sky. For every one star I could see with the naked eye, this camera probably picked up a thousand more. The mis-shapen, flying saucer shaped ones toward the right are all distant galaxies. This shot is uncropped. The only photoshopping was cranking up the contrast, and some slight sharpening. There is no camera noise visible... These are ALL stars!

I uploaded this one the twice as large as I normally do.
Even if it doesn't fit on your screen and you have to scroll around it. Check it out large.

View Large, On Black
  • Views: 19630
  • Comments: 121
  • Favorites: 184
  • Taken: Jun 25, 2008
  • Uploaded: Jun 26, 2008
  • Updated: Nov 10, 2011