It’s hard to not be awed by the immenseness of the universe when you photograph the Milky Way – or the stars in general. In fact, you don’t even need a camera to be spellbound by the sky, but sometimes a photo can do it justice.
One of my favourite locations ever for photographing the Milky Way is in the town of Narrabri in central NSW. About an hour and a half north of Parkes, about 6 hours east of Sydney and about 10ish hours from my home on the Sunshine Coast, Narrabri is a regular stopover when I drive to Melbourne.
On this particular night, I visited the “Radar Telescope Array” which is a CSIRO facility about 20 minutes out of Narrabri itself. Unlike “The Dish” at Parkes, which is a giant radar telescope and tourist attraction, the array at Narrabri offers a better photographic opportunity. Parkes, as a tourist facility, is overly lit and makes it difficult to appreciate the sky above, whereas the Narrabri array is in a complete dark zone. Also, instead of one large radar telescope, Narrabri features several small telescopes that depending on your angle, can make an incredibly rich landscape.
For this photograph, based on the position of the Milky Way and what the sky was doing (as well as certain fenced off areas being closed to the public) I chose to include two telescopes in my image.
I arrived before sunset, armed with camera gear, laptop (so I could use the app Stellarium) a packed dinner and patience. Stellarium is a fantastic app and along with Star Walk on my phone, helps me plan a Milky Way shoot so I can take the time prior to shooting to determine my foreground.
The camera equipment I used for this photograph included:
* Canon 5D MkIII
* Samyung 14mm F2.4 Prime Lens
* Remote Trigger
Once I had picked my foreground is was just a matter of patience until the Milky Way was in the right position in the sky, and then minor adjustments of my own position to create an image that looked like the Milky Way was emitting from the Radar Telescope.
I’ve photographed the Milky Way all over Australia and the world – and will share some of those images in other posts or in my gallery – but this one… this is I think my favourite.