The Night Sky over California
California Milky Way Photography and Astrophotography
For the past few years, I have been capturing Milky Way photography and images in the night sky over my home state of California. My passion for astrophotography and star photography happened during the first night I shot the Milky Way. I knew that star photography would be something I would focus on for a long time. Here are some of my favorite images that I have taken on my adventures.
Here is one of my favorite astrophotography images, taken in Santa Barbara California. This was one of my first attempts at tracking the Milky Way to retain detail in the core. The tree was on top of a hill and I was standing at the bottom, giving me the ability to move around and plan the exact position to catch the Galaxy rising in the right spot. It also gave me the ability to get a clean Milky Way rising right above the horizon without a ton of light pollution.
The image is a mix of two different photos. One was a 50-second photo taken of the Galaxy which uses a star tracker device that follows the stars and allows you to take long exposures without star blur. The second photo was a 50-second exposure without the star tracker for the tree and the hill. The positioning of the Milky Way was left natural as to how I viewed it in person. These photos were taken no more than 1 -2 minutes apart.
There is something so magical about a lone Oak Tree complemented by the Milky Way Galaxy. Throughout my years in college, from 2009-2013, this became one of my favorite subjects for my star photography.
Another incredible night shooting Milky Way Photography over Santa Ynez. The green glow you are seeing in the sky is called ‘airglow’.
These two star photography images were taken in the Eastern Sierra Mountains of California. This was by far one of my favorite night sky photography adventures.
It is hard to believe these incredible cracks exist, shaped by time. Taken in Death Valley National Park.
This image was one of my favorite night sky photographs for a long time. We stayed up all night in the Anza Borrego Desert shooting Milky Way photography, taking my friend’s 4×4 Jeep around to some incredible spots.
One of the many reasons I love living in California is the variety of landscapes for night sky photography. In the same day, you can be in the mountains and then drive to the beach. Another day, you can be around rolling hills of oaks and then head to some incredible desert landscapes. The California coast gets pretty foggy during the summertime, but every once in a while, it is magical when you get treated with a clear night.
What you are seeing is a vertical panorama of moonset through the famous Pfeiffer Beach archway in Big Sur. The moon was fairly dim during this phase (18% or so) giving slight visibility to the Milky Way overhead. As the moon dipped down closer to the horizon the Galaxy became visible enough to even see some subtle nebula colors. The panorama consists of about 5 shots overlapping starting from almost completely overhead all the way facing down at some rocks near the tripod legs.