Milky Way Over the Coast of Maine

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Nikon D810A with NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8 lens. Blend of two panoramas.

The Milky Way arcs over the rugged coast of Maine on a clear night in May, 2020.

I love being out under the stars, and for me getting there is often half of the fun. This shot involved hiking a few miles round trip in the dark, through wet coastal hiking trails with lots of rocks and exposed roots that can easily trip me up even in daylight. But it’s all worth it when the sky is clear and the Milky Way is in just the right spot!

Technical Details

Nikon D810A with NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8 lens @ 14mm and f/2.8 for all shots. Blend of two panoramas, one for the sky and one for the foreground, 6 exposures each. The sky exposures are 20 seconds each at ISO 3200, and the foreground exposures are 2 minutes each at ISO 4000. All shots were taken in the same spot on the same night under dark skies. I used PTGui to stitch the two panoramas separately, and then I manually blended the sky and foreground together in Photoshop.

This is the first time I’ve used PTGui, other than a quick test of it years ago, and I can’t believe it took me so long to use it again. I normally use Lightroom or Photoshop’s built-in panorama stitching but, as is not uncommon with either of those, it was causing ugly stitching issues and the panoramas were hard to line up for blending. I gave PTGui a try and it worked wonderfully. The panoramas came together without issues, aligning for blending was much easier, and PTGui stitched the panoramas together blazingly fast. I think I was able to stitch both panos in the amount of time it would have taken Lightroom to stitch one pano, maybe even faster.


Learn more about Milky Way shooting & editing techniques through tutorials available at Adam’s website, www.adamwoodworth.com, and follow him on Instagram as @awoodworthphoto.

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