More Milky Way / A Sense of Wonder

More of the Milky Way

The Milky Way fills the sky above clouds and trees as seen from our backyard on a summer night. This fills me with a sense of wonder.

The Milky Way fills the sky above clouds and trees as seen from our backyard on a summer night. I don’t know about you, but this fills me with a sense of wonder.

On the night that I took this photo, I was thinking that the clouds spoiled my opportunity to get a good photo. But as the night went on, the clouds slowly moved out of the way. They had not moved entirely out by the time I took this, as you can see, but they added a good bit of character to the photo, so I did not mind them being there. Fortunately, they did not block too much of the Milky Way.

The clouds make it interesting without getting in the way too much. Plus, I like how you can see other stars through the clouds, showing that the clouds were not all that thick.

If you are keeping up with previous posts, the portion of the Milky Way in this earlier photo is at the center of this photo. This photo is a much wider view than that earlier photo. You can read more about that in the “About the Photo” section down below.

The tops of the cedar trees add some character to this photo, too. They may not mean that much to you. But we transplanted those trees as small sticks several years ago. So seeing them as tall, mature trees makes me a little proud of what we did.

By the way, that bright spot to at the left center of the photo is Jupiter. And a little to the left of it is Saturn. Just in case you were wondering about those bright spots.

A Sense of Wonder

I don’t know about you, but I find it pretty cool to see all of those stars and planets and stuff in the sky. I like looking at the stars when I am outside. And as you have probably guessed from some of the other recent posts here, I have enjoyed photographing the stars at night, too.

I have already written a good bit about the stars, such as how many there are, how far away they are, and so on. But they do still fascinate me. The stars still do fill me with wonder.

So many times, we hear of children and their sense of wonder. We then hear about how adults have lost that sense of wonder. As we go through life, things harden us to the realities of the world. We find out more about how things work. We know a good bit about life and what to expect next.

Do you still have a sense of wonder? Have you seen something lately that completely amazed you? Are you fascinated by nature and the beauty that you can see?

No matter how old you are, do what you can to keep that sense of wonder going. Instead of trying to figure out how things work and what might be next, just enjoy life and be amazed by it all. Be childlike in your examination of things.

Enjoy the world around you. It is a pretty cool place.

A sense of wonder

Bible Verse

And they were bringing children to him that he might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” - Mark 10:13-15

About the Photo

I took this photo on the same night as the long-exposure view down our driveway. I had actually originally set the camera with those settings for this photo first, but I already discussed them in that post, so I won’t go into that detail again here.

However, you might be wondering exactly why I used those settings. It all has to do with the 500 rule for photographing stars. In the 500 rule, you divide 500 by the product of the focal length and the crop factor to determine the maximum time the shutter can be open. If you keep the shutter open any beyond that time, the stars turn into trails instead of points, due to the rotation of the earth. That is good if you are wanting a photo like that. But if you are wanting the stars to be points, then trails won’t work.

The crop factor mentioned above depends on the type of camera that you have, and it is a factor of how the camera’s image sensor compares to a 35mm film frame. My camera is a full-frame camera, so the crop factor is 1. An APS-C camera (such as the Canon Rebel series) has a smaller image sensor, so its crop factor is 1.6. A micro four-thirds camera, such as the Olympus OM-D E-M10 that I used for several years, has a crop factor of 2. You can read a more in-depth discussion of crop factors in this Wikipedia article.

In this case, I was using the 28-70mm lens at the 28mm setting. Because I was doing the math in my head, I approximated the focal length to be 25 instead of 28. So 500 / (25 x 1) = 20. From that calculation, I used 20 seconds as my exposure time. As I mentioned in that previous post, the maximum aperture setting was f/4. So then I just experimented with a couple of ISO settings to see what worked best. As I mentioned in that driveway post, this sort of thing does take a little bit of patience.

Photo: A single Raw exposure, processed in Aurora HDR. Read more about photography tips, photo software, camera gear, and more at Steve’s Photography Tips.
Camera: Sony Alpha A7 II
Lens: Sony FE 28-70mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS lens
Date: August 17, 2020
Location: Home, WillistonTennessee