Behind the Lens - Aaron Priest Photography
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Milky Way from Ocean Path

Venkat Pakala and I shot this shortly before and during astronomical dawn on June 18, 2015, 01:27 – 02:53 AM from the cliffs of Ocean Path along the Park Loop Road in Acadia National Park, Maine. The outcrop into the ocean on the right is Thunder Hole in the foreground with Otter Cliff far off on the horizon directly below the galactic center of the Milky Way. On the left are the cliffs overlooking Sand Beach with Great Head on the horizon beyond, and dawn fast approaching. High tide was at 12:23 AM. A little bit of air glow is visible over the ocean’s haze.

I shot two spheres of two different exposures and blended them in Photoshop, the shorter exposures of the sky first followed by the long exposures of the ground as it got brighter out. All of the photos were aligned in a single PTGui project since there was some discrepancy between the alignment of the two spheres, having shot them on a manual panning head without the accuracy of a robotic panning head or a click-stop rotator, and rushing to beat sunrise! I manually blended and masked all the individual photos and exposures in Photoshop. Each sphere consists of 2 rows of 6 photos, plus an extra shot of Venkat and I attempting to stand still!

Camera settings: 14mm, f/2.8, ISO 5000, 20 seconds for the sky and 14mm, f/2.8, ISO 5000, 158 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, aligned via PTGui, and manually blended via masks in Photoshop. Planned with PhotoPills.

Aaron PriestAcadia National ParkMaineMilky WayMount Desert IslandVenkat Pakalaair glowboulderscoastlong exposurenightnight photographynight skyoceanpanoramashoresphericalOcean Pathwide

From Acadia National Park & Mount Desert Island