Milky Way Season – Capture Amazing Galactic Core Shots in 2022

It’s only January, and it’s Milky Way season! You can now photograph the core again. Currently, the best time to do this is very early in the morning. I admit this shot was a tight window of fewer than 30 minutes before sunlight would interfere, but the core was above the horizon. This particular shot was captured at 5:55 am. As each month passes by, the core rises about 90-120 minutes earlier. The core is currently rising at roughly 4:50 am for me here in Arizona, but would be very horizontal to the horizon. You can see the amount it has “risen” in the photo above. Keep in mind when you have a small window at the beginning of the season, you will want a landscape that has low mountains and is flat if possible.

Basic Settings to Photograph the Milky Way

Let’s talk about some rough settings. Manual mode is a must. I always start with a pretty high ISO, say even 6400. This is strictly to shape my composition and see what’s out there in the dark. Once I have my composition set, I will settle the ISO back down to around 1600-2500 area usually. I try to keep exposure time near 10-20 seconds. 30-second exposures are just as common, and you will be just on the cusp of starting to see star trails if you look at your photo close enough, unless you are extremely wide. For the most part, my aperture is always at f / 2.8 or faster. My go to lens, which is currently the Sony 20mm, opens all the way up to f/1.8 which is pretty handy! You need to let in a lot of light for these shots.

These are rough starting points. If you think you need an adjustment, do not hesitate to do so. If your shot is still dark, for example, raise your ISO.

Shoot in Raw