Milky Way Joshua Tree Rock Arch
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Milky Way Joshua Tree Rock Arch

The Rock Arch in Joshua Tree provides a perfect foreground for milky way photography. This was my first attempt photographing stars in Joshua Tree (actually any night sky photography). The better part of the milky way was actually in the other part of the sky, but in order to make the composition work with the arch I had to shoot this direction. I’d like to come back in the summer to get a different part of the milky way into the photograph.

Technical details: This photo was at 16mm on a full-frame Canon 5D Mk II (my widest lens, though I wish I could go wider), f/2.8 for 30 seconds at ISO 4000. No HDR here, but I did some curves and levels to increase the contrast in the sky to bring out the stars more. I light painted the foreground rocks with a flashlight - my hand blocking most of the light since it was too bright. With this type of shot, the basic goal is to get as much light captured without getting star trails. At 16mm this means not exposing longer than 30 seconds. Be sure to come at new moon if you want to shoot the milky way because otherwise you won’t see much since the sky will be too bright from the moon.

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Posted Jan 22, 2014 10:53 am

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