A friend my son insisted recently there are no more than a couple of hundred stars in the sky. He has apparently never ventured out of the city at night. There are around 3,000 stars we can see at a given time in the night sky with our naked eyes. And, there are up to 300 billion stars in our galaxy, according to recent estimates (I didn’t count).
During this excursion I took a number of images and in some tried to introduce foreground elements, trees or fences, or some other object to add context. I could not really find what I thought worked for me though. In some cases the other elements seemed to distract from the main emphasis, the Milky Way. In the end the image seen here is the one that worked for me because of the simple form of the hills. They added context and visual weight without distracting from the main subject.
In order to get the exposure I needed I set the ISO to 3200 and exposures were between 30 and 45 seconds. The lens focal length for this shot was 16mm at f2.8. I had to focus on some distant object for infinity, which was difficult at times due to the darkness. The long exposure and high ISO setting would naturally introduce some noise so I had to ensure the noise reduction features were set on the camera. This actually doubled the time each exposure required because of the noise reduction process. In post processing, I adjusted curves and levels to further bring out the structure of the Milky Way.
This is a view you certainly won't see in night sky of the city.