Acadia National Park & Mount Desert Island - Aaron Priest Photography

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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