Our top 5 milky way pictures of 2018
Our home galaxy has always been here for us to contemplate. Its bright arch painting across the starry sky makes us gaze up for hours and put things back into perspective. Here’s our top pick countdown for the 2018 season.
5. Core over Mount Blanc
This shot was quite difficult to get overall. There are many option and angles to take it from but in any case there is a lot of thinking, planning and trying in the background. This shot was taken from Emosson Lake in Switzerland during the peak of the Perseid last August. The milky way core passed right over Europe’s highest peak Mont Blanc (4807 m). The panorama technique enabled to get a huge amount of details. If you zoom in, you can see refuge cabins light on the summit and hikers’ headlamps as well! The very top is hidden by a recurrent lenticular cloud, which is very cool too. And look at the majestic core that’s passing right behind which a thick band of green airglow at its base. In the core you can see many deep-sky objects: Lagoon, Trifid, War and Peace nebulae to mention a few. Saturn is also shining bright right above the Lagoon.
Processing technique: Blended tracked panorama using the Canon 6D modded + Samyang 135mm f2 + Vixen Polarie + Pure night LP filter.
Foreground: 3 pictures at f2.8, ISO 6400, 20” untracked
Sky: 9 pictures at f2.8, ISO 6400, 13” tracked
Assembly: Pt Gui Pro
Post-Process: Lr and Ps
4. Isaac Newton Telescope under the Swan
The Isaac Newton telescope is part of a group of telescopes run by the IAC at the ORM (Observatorio del Roque de los Muchachos) on La Palma island. It holds a stunning 2.54-meter diameter primary mirror and its instruments have the ability to carry out both spectroscopy (study of the light spectra of objects of the cosmos) and wide-field photography. This telescope is not accessible by car at night without an authorization but can be accessed if you are willing to hike up the mountain. The Swan area (Cygnus) of the milky way was rising right behind the open telescope. It’s an area that overlooked because the red nebulosity can only be captured well on specialized cameras, and are certainly not visible with the naked eye. However the details and fine red nebulosity are out of this world!
Processing technique:Canon 6D Baader modded + Sigma 50mm f1.4 Art
Panorama of 2 rows of 4 portrait pictures taken at 15”, ISO 6400, f2.8
Vixen polarie tracker, Pure Night LP filter, stitched in PTGui Pro, Post-process in Ps and Lr.
3. Jacobus Kapteyn telescope under the core
Part of La Palma’s ORM Isaac Newton group of telescopes, the Jacobus Kapteyn is a one-meter optical telescope that was jointly built by the Netherlands and the UK back in 1983. It was put out of service in August 2003 because it was surpassed by more performing telescopes. Today it is owned by the IAC and operated remotely by SARA. It still serves as an excellent accessible subject to photograph because it is the most elevated telescope of the group, offering an excellent vista from below when the central part of our galaxy passes behind.
This photograph is the result of a simple panorama without tracking taken at 135mm just using the amazing abilities of the Samyang 135mm f2 and the Sony a7s. Even with single shots taken only at 6” exposure, look at how much details, sharpness and colors you can get!
Processing technique:Sony a7s + Samyang 135mm f/2
9 shots at 6”, f/2, ISO 8000
Stitched in PtGui Pro, Edited in Ps and Lr.
2. Lady reflections
This is probably the best single picture we have seen to date and it was taken here on Senja island last September by our resort manager.
The talented Frank Olsen,the beautiful Amanda Costa (model here) and Adrien were out taking northern light pictures on a lukewarm September night. Right after taking a first test selfie, Frank and Adrien wanted to try a shot from a slightly better location with more reflection and with a different subject. Amanda posed for them in front of that still pool of water allowing the reflection. Adrien actually didn’t really plan it but Amanda happened to be right in the aurora reflection on the Norwegian sea (Ersfjord, Senja) and the reflection was absolutely stunning. The milky way was also unbelievably defined for a single shot. The colors fell in perfectly, the symmetry of this astronomical association, the mirror effect. In short everything to make for a dream shot!
Processing technique:Canon 6Da + Sigma 14mm f1.8
SINGLE SHOT, 23” (Vixen polarie, not polar aligned), ISO 6400, f2.8
Tenerife caldera by night
Tenerife’s caldera is a wonder from another world. Plunged in the darkness of the night, there’s only the light pollution below that reminds you you’re on Earth. Otherwise it feels like you are exploring another planet! That night was very special because the skies were extremely pure with low dust and airglow. As the subject was hiking the trails left by the different lava flows, the stars and the bight milky way illuminated the dark arid landscape. We love that so many features of the milky way are present and so contrasted. You can gaze upon the many bright stars as well as some gorgeous nebulae. To the subject’s left and right are some 10-meter-high hardened basalt coulees were almost no vegetation can grow. In this very barren and lunar atmosphere, it’s hard not to tackle all the great questions and issues of our origins in the cosmos. It’s our absolute favorite: the symmetry is near perfect, the colors are all here, there’s a fine contrast between the sky and the foreground.
Processing technique:Blended panorama of 30 panels shot with Canon 6D Baader modded + Sigma 50mm f1.4 Art, Pure Night LP filter.
Foreground: untracked 10 x 30” at ISO 6400, f2.8.
Sky: 2 rows of portrait panels tracked with Vixen Polarie, at 16” integration, ISO 6400, f2.8.
Stitching in PTGui Pro, post-process in Ps and Lr.