This photo was taken during last week's new moon, at Foz dos Ouriços, near the village of Almograve, on southwest Portugal's coast.
Summer is an excellent time to go out and enjoy the night sky in the northern hemisphere, something I try to do every year. This location shows as Bortle class 4 in the night brightness map, which indicates that, although not truly dark (that would be class 1), it still allows for good observation and photography.
Even though it can be a bit technical, this type of photography is accessible to anyone with a simple camera and wide-angle lens. Of course, it helps if the camera has an intervalometer and the lens is fast, say around f/1.4 or f/2. The latter aspect improves the light-gathering ability of the lens, which is an important parameter.
For this type of photo, I usually shoot several images at ISO 1600 and 15 seconds; this avoids star trailing with my 16mm lens in APS-C format. You will also need a tripod, of course. In this case, I started with a set of 20 Raw images that I later stacked in software called Sequator (readily available and straightforward to use).
The 20 images gave me a total time of 5 minutes; since I do not have a tracker to accompany the earth's rotation, the land part will trail after stacking for the stars.
With some trial and error, I decided that the result from a 4-image stack (1 minute total) was a good compromise, with still good detail in the Milky Way and minimal trailing in the land portion of the frame. One of the best parts of these sessions is that you can sit back and relax while the camera takes the images!
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Dimitri Vasileiou • Editor