Hunting the Milky Way

It's that time of year again, time for my annual blog update and an attempt at starting to blog more.... 

Over the past couple of weeks I've been keeping an eye on the weather with a view to attempting to photograph the Milky Way, spurred on by a recent purchase of a new camera, a Sony A7 full frame mirrorless camera... perhaps that would have made a good blog post too... damn it! Anyhoo, last night was the first clear night and so decided it was time to set out in the dark to try and capture the celestial body that is the Milky Way.

Having looked a light pollution maps there seemed to be some decent areas around Carluke (North Lanarkshire, Scotland) that could work for what I was looking to achieve. The first was Black Law Wind Farm near Climpy but this looked like it was a bit close to surrounding light pollution and might not be ideal, the second was springfield fishery which looked to be in the middle of a dark spot and more ideal. Off to the fishery I went... and after about half an hour of driving and wandering about I left! Top tip folks, go in the daylight first so you know where you need to go cos turns out these dark places are very dark and even with a torch it was difficult to see where I needed to go! Lesson learned.

After realising my stupidity I headed off to plan B, the wind farm. Wandering from the car in to the heart of the wind farm it was clear that there was  going to be too much light pollution in order for this to work out and most likely I was going to return home fruitless and kicking myself for not being more proactive and scoping out the fishery in the day. It was still fairly dark though so there was a glimmer of hope and I remained cautiously optimistic.

After about half a mile of walking I settled on a spot which seemed to offer a good view of the sky as well as nice big wind turbine for a wee bit of foreground interest, checked my sky map app thing and made sure I was facing the right direction and snapping commenced. The initial results from the back of the camera looked quite promising, once I'd realized the really really dark image was because the lens cap was still on, but with that sorted out the results were encouraging. Quick adjustment for the exposure time and the following images were born.

Black Law Wind Farm
Black Law Wind Farm

Not exactly the image I had in my head when I set out but for a first attempt and at a plan B location I'm pretty pleased with the results. Did take one more and from a different angle; with the camera pointed up to the sky and facing away from the light/horizon the results were a bit different...

Milky Way

So in the end I did get some of the Milky Way and overall a pleasing and successful night hunting! Next time I'll be sure to check out locations during daylight hours and hopefully get the image that I came for! Until next time... or next year when I update this blog again!