Milky Way at Pine Mountain

After three attempts, our photography meet-up group finally got to go to Pine Mountain Observatory for Milky Way shots. The weather didn’t cooperate the first two attempts and we weren’t quite sure how it was going to turn out last night, but it turned out to be a perfect night for it.

The only obstacle was the number of people at the observatory. The observatory is run by Oregon State University and in the spring and summer they have weekend lectures there. So there were a lot of red lights running around which can be taken out in Lightroom or Photoshop.

I’m still learning astrophotography and it poses some challenges. One is it is pitch black out there so you can’t see anything to focus on. The key is to pre-focus and tape the lens so it doesn’t move. You want the widest aperture which on my lens is 2.8 and a wide angle lens. I have a 17-50mm lens and I made the mistake of zooming in when I was pre-focusing the the tape covered the zoom. So while I was at the observatory I had to move the tape so I could get the lens at the widest angle which may have affected my focus a bit.

But it was a wonderful evening, beautiful weather, and great company.


9 Replies to “Milky Way at Pine Mountain”

  1. Oh wow I love your explanation. I’ve been wanting to do this. I always had trouble with my camera trying to refocus on the lights around. So you have your camera on manual? Just curious of the setting. Wow you did a fabulous job! Love these. ❤

    1. Thank you very much. Yes, everything is set to Manual. The biggest variables will be your ISO and the length of the exposure. I had my ISO set between 3200 and 6400 with a 20-25 second exposure. That is something you will have to adjust when you’re shooting.

      1. Oh okay I don’t think I had my exposure set right or my ISO. My photos ended up too light. I really love the way the observatory looks like a tent. Wow that sky is amazing. You did an awesome job. You have inspired me to try it again. Amazing

      2. Okay I will do that. I love them too. I can take photos of the moon but the stars have always been a challenge for me! Thanks so much 😀

  2. Fabulous photos and interesting explanation, Maralee. The darkness presents such a challenge with night photography but well worth the results you’re getting. 🙂

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