Under the Milky Way Tonight / Light Domes

Recently I have been on a quest to photograph the Milky Way and reconnect with my favorite aspect of photography, Night Shots.

In between weddings, and as time allows, I have spent a great deal of time in search of a great location to achieve my goal of shooting some images of the night sky. To date I have not found the perfect location to achieve my goal. The photos I am sharing with you today are in no way a representation of what I expect as a finished product, but instead I will share with you the difficulties I have experienced and what I plan to do to ultimately capture the photos I am looking for.

Faint glimpse of Milky Way

This Image was a test shot while attempting to fail the camera in. You can just see on the left side of the photo the outline of the milky way. The location I choose to shoot from, clearly was not far enough away from the light domes that were being produced by the nearby towns.

This next shot was unique as yes you can see the Milky way but a shooting star was present and was not discovered until I opened it in Lightroom.

Shooting star

At the bottom of the shot you can see the light dome that was causing me so much difficulty.

This shot I zoomed in a little, just to give the photo a little more detail, and to expose the outline of the Milky way a bit more.


This shot reveals the culprit of my failure. Light domes. Also known as light pollution. These domes are a by-product of street lights and or lighting from buildings and they can be a photographers nightmare when you are attempting to photograph the night sky.

In addition, on this particular evening, we had a flurry of lighting bugs that although beautiful, distracted from the photographs we were attempting to capture. In addition to all the above we also had the occasional car that would come along and light up our lower frame of the photograph.

All the shots were captured with a the Tamron 10 to 24 mm wide-angle lens, and with a varied ISO between 800 and 12800, I used the bulb mode on a few shots and exposed the some of them up to 2 minutes. Most of the images were taken between 20 and 30 seconds of exposure.

For this shoot, I also employed a tripod, and had used the camera is manual mode, with no auto focus.

Sounds fairly easy, but besides the light domes and the rest of the issues we experienced that night, the one thing I fail dot mention was the insects. I was the main course at dinner that evening, and although very difficult to endure the biting, I was able to snap a few shots.

So in evaluation, my next attempt will be planned slightly different. To be able to get the shots I desire, a completely dark location will have to be chosen to avoid the light domes that seen to be present in and around my suburb. I also will have to avoid shooting just off the road. Car headlights really travel a great distance, and clearly the best way to avoid that problem is to get off the beaten path.

And finally, Insect repellant. The welts I have not only itch like the dickens, but they were endured in a failed attempt, and that makes the sting even worse.

Here are the rest of the images I captured that night, and although, they are not anything to brag about, they  show how failure can lead to eventual success. But you will have to wait till the next post on the Milky way to see this clearly. (LAUGHING)

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Until Next post,

My very Best


M.Sargent Photography


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