After many years, I once again planned to photograph the Milky Way. Our Galaxy is very impressive, but without the right motive in the foreground, a picture is rather boring. About 3 years ago, I visited the Stellisee to catch a spectacular picture of the Milky Way together with the famous Matterhorn.

Unfortunately in 2016, I was a little too early in the season, so that the Milky Way could only be seen very far to the east. That’s why I had to shoot a panorama. The result was not bad, but of course I would have liked to have our Galaxy directly over the “Horu“.

2016-07-29_00h47m58s_DSF9886
Milky Way from Stellisee, July 2016

 

This time it should work as desired. Using improved planning assistance (PhotoPills), I quickly found the right date: August 31, 2019.

After about 5.5 hours of travel, I finally arrived at the shooting location. Well, there is only one thing you can not plan: The weather! 🙂

As breathtaking as clouds can be, they were quite disturbing for my upcoming Milky Way shooting. And if you think it cannot get any worse, it hits you with full force. My camera (I still love you Fuji) did not want to join the session anymore!

Ok Alex, stay calm and keep cool. What have I learned? Which is the best camera? Right! The one you have with you and the one that is still working… My smartphone! So I could at least make some acceptable pictures during daylight. Here are some cloud pictures taken with my smartphone:

I had a few hours left before dusk, and with much patience and luck, I finally managed to prepare my camera for the few scheduled shots in the night. At 22:00 it was still very cloudy. To get a beautiful picture of the Milky Way was unthinkable at this time. But… just wait and see. So I went to bed (after I set up the tent) for a while. At 0:30 I took a look outside and what a wonder: A crystal clear night! And so I was really happy to get a chance for the my renewed Milky Way shooting at Stellisee… in perfect conditions!

I have taken my pictures with the help of iOptron SkyTracker. This allows me to use a very long exposure time (4.5 minutes with 35mm lens), without losing focus of the stars (no star trailing). Without SkyTracker, I could only expose for 9 seconds (using the same 35mm lens). But using a SkyTracker also means making two separate images for foreground and sky, which must be combined later in the post process. Also, I learned from my previous shootings, how important the right exposure is for the foreground as well. Since I take two shots anyway, I can take the optimal exposure time here (8 minutes). Enough talking! Here is the result:

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Milky way on top of the Matterhorn, August 2019

 

Mission accomplished!
Camera broken, Alex still happy! 🙂

Enjoy & Cheers,
Alex

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