Living in the city can be stifling, with limited visibility of the stars and the Milky Way, and a disconnect from nature. While the sight of the Milky Way can be awe-inspiring, nature has the power to ground us and reveal our true selves. Fortunately, Guilin has many rural and mountainous areas that provide ample opportunities to experience the natural world.
By day, you can bask in the stunning landscapes, while at night, you can capture the beauty of the Milky Way through photography.
The ideal time for Milky Way photography in Guilin is between July and October, with August and September being the best months.
Essential Camera Settings for Milky Way Photography
Shutter speed – 30 seconds: I used a 30-second shutter speed for most of my night photography, which required a sturdy tripod. It's important to avoid using excessively long shutter speeds as the Earth's rotation can cause the stars to appear elongated in the sky.
Aperture – f/2.8: In landscape photography, a high aperture is typically used to achieve a greater depth-of-field. However, when capturing stars, it's important to remember that depth-of-field refers to the amount of the image that appears sharp, rather than where the sharpness is located. As such, photographers may be misled into thinking they need a very high aperture because stars are distant objects.
To capture Milky Way photography effectively, it is advisable to use the widest aperture possible, but it's important to note that not all lenses have a maximum aperture of f/2.8.
ISO – 3200: Photographers typically prefer to use a low ISO setting to avoid producing grainy images. However, when it comes to certain types of night photography, such as capturing the Milky Way, a higher ISO value may be necessary to properly expose the scene.
As you shot the picture at ISO 3200, some noise is noticeable in the image. While noise is unavoidable with current camera technology, there are ways to minimize its appearance, especially when using high ISO and long shutter speed. One such technique is long exposure noise reduction, which is available on all DSLRs.
Best Time in August & September
The best time for Milky Way photography is during the new moon phase when the sky is at its darkest.