Milky Way timelapse

The internet is full of amazing photos and videos. Timelapse is one category in between, it is a video made of photos captured at a certain predefined interval. Modern cameras have a built-in timelapse option which is very helpful and saves a lot of your time, memory and editing tasks. Capturing Milky Way timelapse isn’t that easy for few reasons which I have mentioned below. But the final output that we get after all the effort is truly heavenly.

The built-in timelapse option in you camera can be very helpful while capturing Milky Way timelapse or any other timelapse videos. This is good if you can get everything right in the camera, with no further editing or post production work. All that you need to do is set time interval and for how long. Once this is set, the camera will take care of capturing images, convert to JPEG, collate and then stitch all os them into one single small video file. Note that it will delete all the photos that it had captured and will only keep the final timelapse video. You may edit the video in post-processing. If you do not have this option then you can always use an intervalometer to capture multiple images at different time intervals.

The below video was captured in the Himalayas at Tarsar Lake. Capturing Milky Way timelapse videos are not that easy. The temperature had dropped to almost four degrees celsius. I’m all alone in away from my tent to avoid any kind of stray light from the tent and other trekkers moving around with their torch light on, around the campsite. I could have used the tent in the foreground which would have been better, but it was too distracting. Moved away from campsite late at night. Used my Manfrotto tripod which has 3-way head used for video. Over which I placed my Nikon D610 full frame camera along with Nikkor 14-24mm f2.8 lens. I used a remote wireless trigger.

About camera settings: Switch to Manual mode. Set the exposure to Bulb mode. Aperture at f2.8, wide open. Set the ISO around 1000, adjust accordingly if needed. Focus to infinity and set the focus to manual as well. You can use apps to find out where the galaxy is. If it’s a clear dark sky then you can make out where it is. I have not used any app when I captured this as we were camping in the Himalayas far away from any human activities. No moonlight, no light pollution as well.

Now that your camera is focused to infinity, set the intervalometer or the inbuilt timelapse option. But before you do this, take a test shot, as shown above, to see how each of the shot will appear. Once you are done with this, set the intervalometer. To get Milky Way timelapse, use an exposure in the intervalometer of up to 60 to 120 minutes. Have extra batteries as this will drain the battery. See that you have charged your batteries to its max.

I will not speak about the post editing here as I do it in the camera. All that you need to do in post editing is import all the images and then stack all of them. Once the final output is ready this is how the Milky Way timelapse would look like. Follow me on social media for more updates on travel and photography. Watch this video in HD.

Timelapse of the Milky Way. Captured this at Tarsar Lake in the Himalayas, J&K, India.
Watch this in HD.
Nikon Manfrotto…

Posted by Ravindra Joisa Photography on Tuesday, October 13, 2015


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