Milky Way over Boulder Beach - Aaron Priest Photography
Milky Way over Boulder Beach, Acadia National Park

Milky Way over Boulder Beach, Acadia National Park

May 16, 2015, 12:29 – 01:16 AM

This is a panorama of the Milky Way over Boulder Beach in Acadia National Park during a night sky workshop that I co-instructed with Vincent Lawrence of Acadia Images Photography Workshops. I set my tripod in a natural bowl in the boulders on the beach and shot two spheres: one exposed for the sky and one exposed for the ground and refocused on the boulders. I blended the images together in Photoshop first via masks, then stitched them with PTGui Pro. I left the tripod in the nadir to show what a properly calibrated nodal slide should look like after stitching; it should be a smooth circle with no sawtooths. In fact, I hardly needed any control points at all in PTGui as it was already nearly perfectly aligned before stitching. I waited until the Big Dipper was outlined by the trees in the opposite direction of the Milky Way’s arch before shooting the panorama.

Learn about this and more at our upcoming Night Sky Panoramas Workshop, May 5-8, 2016!

Click here to explore the full 360° view

Milky Way over Boulder Beach, Acadia National Park

Camera settings: 14mm, f/2.8, ISO 6400, 20 seconds, 3786°K for the sky and 14mm, f/2.8, ISO 3200, 120 seconds, 4024°K for the ground.

Stitching data: 2 rows of 6 columns x 2 exposures for a total of 24 photos. Finished panorama is 18192 x 9096 or ~165 megapixels.

Equipment used: Nikon D810, Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8, Promote Control, and Really Right Stuff TVC-34L tripod w/ leveling base & multi-row panning head. Long exposure noise reduction via Pixel Fixer.

Milky Way over Boulder Beach, Acadia National Park

Above is a ~220° fisheye view of the sky, rendered with PTGui from the same spherical panorama.



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Milky Way over Otter Cliffs, Acadia National Park

May 16, 2015, 2:07 – 2:15 AM

This is a stack of photos I shot of the Milky Way over Otter Cliffs from the other side of Boulder Beach in Acadia National Park during a night photography workshop I taught last year. I aligned 25 photos of the Milky Way in PTGui Pro after masking out the ground, so only the stars would be picked for control points, and stacked the aligned photos in Photoshop as a Smart Object with a median stack mode to reduce noise. I tried Photoshop’s auto-align first, and RegiStar as well, but neither would properly align the stars as well as PTGui for this particular sequence. Next, I masked in a longer exposure of the ground shot at a lower ISO. Finally, I cropped it slightly to trim away the alignment edges and match the original 2:3 image dimensions.

Camera settings: 24mm, f/2.8, ISO 6400, 10 seconds x 25 photos for the sky and 24mm, f/2.8, ISO 3200, 120 seconds for the ground.

Equipment used: Nikon D810, Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8, Promote Control, and Really Right Stuff TVC-34L tripod w/ leveling base & multi-row panning head. Long exposure noise reduction via Pixel Fixer. RAW conversion via Lightroom.

Acadia National ParkBoulder BeachMilky WayMount Desert IslandOtter Cliffsnightnight photographynight skyworkshop

From Acadia National Park & Mount Desert Island