Get 10% off instantly emailed gift certificates with code NOT2LATE

I have recently taken an interest in photography of the Milky Way and trying to combine it with different foreground interest.

Through all my research and flickr friends work it was trying to find a dark location within driving distance of Sydney that both Jay and I had been looking into for our first try of shooting the Milky Way.

I have also been looking into going for single frame captures rather than stacking them. I am sure that as I get better at these shots I will start to try using programs like deep sky stacker (Maybe??).

So during the week Jay e-mailed me and proposed that we try for a Milky Way shoot on Friday night. It involved leaving Sydney at 11.30pm at night and driving up to Forresters Beach on the Central Coast. So as we were driving out of Sydney there were a few clouds and we considered aborting the mission, but most likely due to us both being crazy we pushed on and were rewarded with an amazingly clear sky.

Whilst I still have so much to learn with this style of photography, I am so pumped to push the limits and come up with something different.

Shot Details:
Canon 5Dmk2
Canon 17-40 @ f/4.0
ISO: 4000 (Way to high but needed to compensate for using my 17-40mm)
30sec exposure

Post Production:
Edited in Photoshop with Nik Silver Efex Pro (adds structure to the milky way and stars)
Noise reduction software to reduce some of the noise in the stars as a result of using ISO 4000.

Planning Websites:
planets app on my i-phone (shows where the milky way is)


  • SD Smart
    SD Smartover 2 years ago

    This is spectacular. I would love to hear more about how you achieved this result.

  • Hi, It takes a lot of planning to ensure there is very little light pollution (i.e., full moon, city lights etc) in the location you plan to shoot. The other key thing is to figure out when and where the milky way is going to rise. In Australia, the Southern part (the brightest part) of it is visable from around 2.30am onwards. Once you know all of this, you just need a clear night which you can find out on <>; and your away. For this particular shot I shot two seperate exposures and then blended them in p/p. For the sky you need to shoot at high iso for no longer than 30secs (depending on your lens). The foreground I lowered my iso and changed my focus to be the rocks and then shot a long exposure. Hope that helps :)

    – damienlee

  • Charmiene Maxwell-batten
    Charmiene Maxw...over 2 years ago


  • linskudd
    linskuddover 2 years ago


  • Laurie Search
    Laurie Searchover 2 years ago

    This is amazing!!

  • fototaker
    fototakerover 2 years ago

    Oh My GAWD, this is gorgeous. all i ever get with 30s exposure are flies!!! wow, what a fabulous image and you did this on a black dark-of-night beach? wow!!! i’ envious! ok, of the fab image and the camera!! hahahaaa thanks for posting the tech data as that’s how the rest of us learn too!!! i congratulate you NOW on the upcoming flood of features!!

  • Hi, yes you need to find a really dark beach that is away from big city lights. Thanks for the comment and view :)

    – damienlee

  • Prasad
    Prasadover 2 years ago


  • Lea Valley Photographic
    Lea Valley Pho...over 2 years ago

    I’m so jealous that you can get shots like this as we in the UK have horrendous light pollution.

    An instant favourite… :)

  • Lea Valley Photographic
    Lea Valley Pho...over 2 years ago

    Am I correct in thinking that this was a 30 second exposure for the foreground and then you put the sky in afterwards?

    If so how did you get such a good exposure of the milky way?

  • Hey Lea

    Yes you are correct, however I shot the milky way first at 30secs / ISO4000 / f/4.0. My focus was at infinity for the sky. I shot the foreground by changing my focus to the rocks and lowered my ISO to reduce the noise in the water. This is the tricky part as shooting at f/4 or f/2.8 is hard to lock focus on the foreground which need to be crisp or the image is stuffed.

    I use B&W masks (Nik Sliver Efex) in PS to pull out the detail in the sky and stars. It adds so much structure to the sky.

    PS: Make sure you use long exposure noise reduction on camera!!! makes a big difference to the final result.

    – damienlee

  • Marie Moriscot
    Marie Moriscotover 2 years ago

    Simply sublime image!

  • Felix Haryanto
    Felix Haryantoover 2 years ago

    Speechless! Just awesome shot mate!

desktop tablet-landscape content-width tablet-portrait workstream-4-across phone-landscape phone-portrait

10%off for joining

the Redbubble mailing list

Receive exclusive deals and awesome artist news and content right to your inbox. Free for your convenience.