Milky Way CandyWe’ve all seen pictures of the Milky Way (not the candy bar, though it is quite yummy) on TV or in books.  And, I am sure you all have looked up in the night sky at one time or another and caught a glimpse of it. For those who never went to school or failed astronomy:

“The Milky Way is the galaxy that contains our Solar System. Its name “milky” is derived from its appearance as a dim glowing band arching across the night sky in which the naked eye cannot distinguish individual stars.”  from Wikipedia

Unfortunately, the Milky Way is not always visible as it rises and falls in the sky just like the moon. And, most of us have too much ambient light in our community making most of the stars invisible. But when you are out in the middle of nowhere, like the far reaches of Arches National Park, it is possible to observe this everyday phenomenon in its full glory.  And, we had the opportunity to shoot it as part of our photography workshop. This all sounded great until we found out that the Milky Way starts appearing at 2:30 am.  That means waking up at 1:30 am and driving to a very remote part of the park. Well, no one said getting great photos is easy.

Setting up the camera with the proper f-stop, exposure, ISO, etc. was quite easy – we just followed the recipe as prescribed by our instructor (nicknamed “Snake” of all things). What was difficult was getting the lens focused properly as one can’t focus a camera in the dark. Hence, we had to do this hours earlier, long before our scheduled shoot.

After all that, here is a night shot of our Milky Way with Window Arch in the lower left:

The Milky Way as shot at 3:00 am!

The Milky Way as shot at 3:00 am!

So, do you think it was worth a sleepless night?