Monday morning early…. 3am early….. I geared up and headed over to Edisto Island hoping to get in and see if the clear skies would hold. I wanted to photograph the milky way above the trees that are so starkly contrasted against the beach and waves. With the trees leafless branches they would cut a brilliant sillohuette against the starry sky. In preperation I had checked the weather and cloud cover, the tide, the stars (using Stellarium) and determined that 5am – 6am would be perfect. It was about a 2 mile hike to the beach from the gate and then another 1/2 mile out to the trees so I left really early hoping to get there with plenty of time and maybe do some time lapse. At the last minute I decided to throw my beach cruiser (bicycle) on the car, as riding that distance would be a whole lot quicker than walking.
The Adventure Begins
I got there with plenty of time and unpacked my bike and gear. After jumping on my bike and heading off through the trees I realized immendiately that I would have trouble seeing anything. There was absolutely no moon and the trees blocked what little light there was from the stars. So I got my headlamp out and tried to fix it to the handle bars. After flopping around for a bit I decided to hold it and then finally I put it on my head. I was hoping to avoid being totally blinded with only my little puddle of light in the vast darkness. But that wasn’t to be. It was a little eery cruising silently through the woods unable to see much of anything. Eventually I got to my destination and I was able to turn my light to red only.
My excitement level intensified as I got closer and closer to the ocean. There was no light pollution anywhere and the stars were incredible. I had never seen the milky way so visible in this part of the world before. Once I got to the beach I was a little bit unsure what to do. I was too excited. 🙂 After a moment or two and some deep pulls from my water reservoir, I recovered and got to work.
Milky Way over the ocean and trees
This is a single image captured after about an hour of shooting when I was able to get a little closer to the tree. I was shooting at 3200 ISO to get as much deep space color as possible and I knew my post processing techniques could handle the noise that such a high ISO would generate. I got several more images from that early morning and I’m really excited to work them going forward.
I hope you enjoy!
Come join us to learn how to capture the stars in one of our Astrophotography Workshops. We’ve got one in Boone and we just announced one for Charleston early birds signups get 20% off for the next week.