Asleep under the Milky Way

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A few nights ago a friend got in touch and asked if I wanted to go and take some star shots at Porteau Cove. Although I’ve shot this location at night quite a lot, I didn’t have any other plans, so I figured why not!

The forecast looked a bit touch and go, but was good in Vancouver, which suggested we might have a good chance looking towards the south, which is also where the most interesting part of the Milky Way was. Although there was quite a lot of glow from the cities of Gibsons on the Sunshine Coast and Nanaimo on Vancouver Island, there was also good visibility of the Milky Way. The glow also nicely silhouetted Anvil Island, making it stand out clearly on the horizon.

We also took along a tent to act as a prop. Even though using a tent as a prop in night sky photography is about as cliched as photographing a street of yellow cabs in New York, there’s no denying it is an effective foreground element! I used an app on my phone that allows the screen to be set to display any colour to light the tent from inside, allowing us to control the appearance of the tent. A warm yellow-orange setting simulated candlelight quite well, and the tent nicely diffused the light.

To increase sharpness and reduce noise, I took two different shots to make up this image, a 20 second exposure of the stars at f/2.8, ISO 3200, and a 2.5 minute exposure of the ground at f/2.8, ISO 400. The two exposures were equivalent in brightness, allowing me to easily blend the longer, less-noisy ground detail in with the shorter exposure of the sky.

beach howe sound night sky seascape
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