Milky Way Over Payette Lake – McCall Idaho

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So I got this crazy idea to capture the Milky Way over Payette lake. I thought it would be really cool to get a reflection of the stars in the water with the beautiful mountains in the background. What happened next is unbelievable. Not really, I just hate those blog posts that lure you in like that so I thought I would be sarcastic. Sorry. This was a lot harder to accomplish than I thought it would be though.  I first planned to stop on my way to Boise well over a month ago, but the weather did not cooperate and it was overcast. I was bummed and kept watching the weather reports to see when the next opportunity would be. I was again thwarted on another business trip to Boise a couple of weeks later. Then I got serious and when I saw the chance to see some stars on a Monday night, I took it. I jumped in my pickup and a couple hours later I had found a pullout along the Warren Wagon Road that had a nice view from the bank.  I had dinner, read a magazine, relaxed, texted with my wife and finally took a nap. About midnight I went down to the water and set up for the shot. Here’s the shot I took at that time.

stars over the lake

Settings: ISO 6400, 25 seconds at F2.8

There was no moon so it was nice and dark. If I hadn’t worked that day I think I would have done another longer exposure to get more detail in the foreground, but I was tired and lazy. After experimenting with different angles and exposures I set up the time-lapse app on my Sony a7rII and went back to my pickup for another nap. Around 2am I woke up and went down to the camera. This is the time-lapse.
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-_SQbg4enRY?rel=0]

I wish I would have let it go for another hour before stopping it. Lesson learned for next time. I took a few more shots before taking off and driving home, sleeping a couple hours and going back to work. I was a little tired that day.

 

 

milky way over the lake

Settings: ISO 10,000, 25 seconds at F2.8 I clicked my flashlight on and off very quickly to light the log and rock.

Over all, I like the shots I got and I learned a little more about astro photography. While talking with my fellow Arcanum cohort Tony Curado , he told me about a star tracker device that you mount your camera to and you can take longer exposures while the device moves your camera with the rotation of the Earth. I am considering getting one. Here’s a link to it Vixen Optics 35505 Polarie Star Tracker (White) . The Sony mirrorless cameras have an amazing dynamic range and unbelievable ISO range. I have the Sony a7R II Full-Frame Mirrorless  camera and I love it, but the real star in low light photography is the Sony Alpha a7S Mirrorless Digital Camera . If your interested in doing astro-photography, a wide angle fast lens is a must. I found a reasonably priced and nice quality Rokinon FE14M-E 14mm F2.8 Ultra Wide Lens for Sony E-mount. Tony also recommended Micheal Shainblum for his great star photography tutorials on his site.

There were a few lake houses over to my left that get to enjoy this view all the time.

houses on the lake at night

Thanks for reading! Please comment and share below!

 

 

 


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