Rye MilkyWay Panorama

In Photography by Steve

Have a few days off leading up to Easter this year, so I’m down at Rye on the Mornington Peninsula south of Melbourne. One of the photos I would like to make is a panorama of the Milkyway, so I thought this trip would be the ideal time to have a go.
Not an easy thing to do, get an image of the Milkyway. A few things need to align & a bit of luck will help. Firstly the weather needs to be kind, next you need the night to be dark, no moon & no or little light pollution. Rye is away from Melbourne & looking south will help. What I didn’t count on is the moon being an issue. As luck would have it this week leading up to Easter 2016 we have a FULL moon 🙁 I have an iPhone app called “The Photographer’s Ephemeris” it allows you to predict the Sun & Moon rise/set. Using this I was able to see that on Monday morning at 5:01 AM the moon will set & at 7:24 AM the Sun will rise. Actually twilight starts an hour earlier at 6:27 AM. This will give me a window of about 1.5 hours to get the shots I want, weather permitting. The rest of the week is full moon all night.
So I set the alarm for 3:00 AM & hope for the best. My plan was to get up & go outside to check the sky, too much cloud & back to bed I go. A good start is what I need & after checking, not a cloud in the sky so off I set. My rough idea was to go to Bridgewater Bay at Blairgowrie, not far & on the surf coast of the peninsula looking south. I was going to use the Rock Pool as the foreground with the Milkyway in the background. What i didn’t think of was being so late in the night, the Milkyway would be high in the sky by then, in fact it was straight above, no chance of using the rock pool as the foreground.

Rye Sunset

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Having walked the site the day before & shot the above sunset image, I knew that I could walk around the small hill to the other side that would give me a view of the Surf Coast with Torquay & Anglesea lights across the water. As I was early I thought that a few Moonset shots would make the trip worth while. Below is the pick of the bunch, close to the above image.

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After the moon set the Milkyway came out to play. As I had my old 60D camera with me I decided to shoot a timelapse, below is the result, a bit short & not very interesting but I will get better with a little work.

Everything had worked for me apart from the Galactic Center of the Milkyway being too high in the sky to get a good shot. So I decided to use my time to take a series of panorama shots with varying camera settings to get more experience with this type of photography. Below is the resulting image from the best series.

Rye 2016 MilkyWay Panorama

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What did I learn, EVERYTHING needs to align to get the image & don’t give up you might get something for your trouble.