The conditions for astro photography were prime while we were doing our workshops in Apalachicola, FL a few weeks ago.
There was no moon for a few days and the other days it was so minimal and it set so soon that it didn't effect us for getting great shots of The Milky Way.
We knew the conditions were right, we just had to find a spot to do it. I suggested we try this place in Apalachicola called Two Mile. I didn't know exactly how the milky way would line up there, but I knew there were abandoned boats in either direction you looked, so I knew we had a good solid foreground that wouldn't move. Now, to just figure out where The Milky Way would line up in relation to either one of those boats. I left that part up to my teaching partner, David Akoubian. Once he figured out where The Milky Way's location was we saw that it lined up directly behind one of the abandoned boats. Score!
Now, all we had to do was dial in our camera settings. This is the simplest part! We set our cameras on Manual Exposure mode and our Lenses on Manual Focus Mode. We set our cameras to an ISO of anywhere from 1600-3200, out aperture as wide open as our lens would allow, in my case F/2.8 and our shutter speed to 30 seconds. Then we focused our lenses all the way to infinity and pulled them back just a touch. We brought a long flashlights to light of the foreground so everyone could get their composition set and we just fired off the shutters together.
I made this milky way image using my Sony A7R II, LA-EA3 Lens Adapter and Tamron 24-70mm Lens. All mounted a top my Sirui W-2204 Tripod.
I was excited to see how excited the workshop attendees were when they saw their camera's LCDs light up with the image they just captured. The next day we showed them how to process those milky way images in Lightroom. Some of the students were pumping out some amazing images! A few of them went out the next few nights on their own to capture more milky way shots. That's what it is all about...we want to show you how to create great images and give you the tools to go out and do it on your own when you are back home and not with the group. Mission accomplished!