Milky Way at Todd Lake

Last night I joined the local photography meet-up group for a Milky Way shoot at Todd Lake. When we left Bend, the skies were clear but as we traveled toward the mountains we could see a heavy cloud bank covering the area of the mountain we would be shooting. Even so, we were hopeful that once the sun went down, the skies would clear.

Todd Lake
Clouds covering the mountain. 9:45 p.m., 17mm, .8 seconds, f/2.8, ISO 2500

It is about a 1/2 mile hike from the parking area at the lake to the spot where we would be shooting. It was still light enough for us to hike in without using our flashlights. The clouds were still covering the mountain but there were signs of it breaking up.

Milky Way over Mt. Bachelor
The Milky Way coming in from the left. 10:42 p.m., 17mm, 20 seconds, f/2.8, ISO 3200

And lo and behold, the clouds did disperse and we had a few hours of wonderful shooting. It got quite chilly once the sun went down and I was glad I had brought a headband, gloves, and my winter jacket.

Milky Way over Mt. Bachelor
Milky Way moving to the right. 11:00 p.m., 17mm, 20 seconds, f/2.8, ISO 3200

For the last few photos we experimented with increasing the length of the shot and covering the top half of the lens halfway through in order to get a little more detail in the water.

We finished our shoot around midnight. It was a wonderful evening.

Milky Way over Mt. Bachelor
19mm, 46 seconds, f/2.8, ISO 3200

You can see how the color of the light changed as the evening progressed.

Milky Way over Mt. Bachelor
Milky Way over Mt. Bachelor, 17mm, 46 seconds, f/2.8, ISO 3200



16 Replies to “Milky Way at Todd Lake”

  1. Very nice . . . I’m curious about the difference between what you saw with your naked eyes and the photos.

    I’ve been to a few places where I could “see”” the Milky Way but still barely a hint of it.

    I don’t see star trails in the 46 seconds exposure. Did you use something that tracked the movement? Or it’s not evident even at nearly a minute?

    1. I could see the Milky Way with the naked eye but the camera sees it much better. For the 46 second shots I covered the top half of the lens after 20 seconds to get more exposure on the lake so there wasn’t much movement with the stars. I did very little processing with these photos. Added a little clarity and a tiny bit of vibrancy in Lightroom.

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