Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.

Waiting on the Milky Way

21 Comments

So what does a person do all day while waiting for true dark to arrive? Besides nap that is.

Working on the river.

Well, on the one day the skies were clear while I was in the UP I wandered the Manistique waterfront looking for other things to photograph while impatiently urging the sun to hurry up and sink.

If you zoom in you might be able to read about the lighthouse.

The mouth of the Manistique River was being dredged so I watched that for awhile. It was sort of interesting, but you can only watch so many piles of mud being moved before you have to move on.

Scoop after scoop of muck was dug up from the river bottom and poured into the barge.

I couldn’t resist walking out on the causeway leading to the shiny red lighthouse. It was such a pretty day.

A wide cement walkway made the trip out there easy to navigate.

I spent quite a bit of time out there waiting for the sun to go down. And watching the light glint off the water.

It’s not a long walk on a pretty day.

A couple of guys were fishing but they hid behind the lighthouse for me to get some shots.

All metal, it can withstand some nasty weather. But none was forecast while I was there.

But as the sun lowered I came back into shore.

The flowers glowed, loosestrife, an invasive, and goldenrod.

The evening light makes everything so pretty.

The last bit of light before the magic begins.

And then, slowly, slowly, the sun sank and the blue hour began.

Let’s take a walk down this boardwalk.

Earlier in the day I had scoped out a place to set up, hoping that the Milky Way would be near the lighthouse from my vantage point. The compass said it should be. But I knew I only had one night so I hoped I wasn’t wrong.

The beginning of blue hour on the beach.

I waited impatiently. It takes forever for the night to get truly dark. And then….a few stars decide to turn on their lights.

Here we go…

I still couldn’t tell exactly where the Milky Way was going to shine…but the stars made me smile anyway. And then….finally, finally, there it was. It was pretty darn amazing. I don’t know why the beach wasn’t full of people just staring.

Take a moment and just look.

I stayed out there a long time. A lot of it not shooting, just standing there, in the moment.

Because, really, how many shots can you take of the same lighthouse with the Milky Way? Well, as it turns out…several dozen. You see, the dark sky requires that you have a high ISO and a wide open aperture and that causes grainy shots.

Beautiful without the lighthouse too.

But you can stack them. Did you know that? There’s software that will lay your photos, one on top of the other, and match up your stars and eliminate anything different. And that clears up a lot of the grainy noise. Huh. So I was taking 7 shots of each shot, in preparation for stacking. But I learned, just this week, I should have taken 10 to 15 shots to stack.

Ah well.

Many of my images had these streaks. I never saw it when I was on the beach, but some people say this light in the sky is the Sky-Link satellites. Zoom in and see what you think.

So, anyway, these are single images, no stacking here, just a little editing to bring out the whites and sometimes to lift the shadows.

I still have so much to learn…so many technical things that I can do to make the images more clear, more beautiful. But the Milky Way season here in Michigan is almost over. There will be one more chance in October, just a few nights, and then I’ll have to be patient until 2023.

Just to show you, we are never alone, the sky is full of stuff flying around.

Yea right. I can hardly handle waiting for the sun to set in a single evening. How am I going to get through months of no Milky Way?

It’s gonna be tough.

Author: dawnkinster

I'm a long time banker having worked in banks since the age of 17. I took a break when I turned 50 and went back to school. I graduated right when the economy took a turn for the worst and after a year of library work found myself unemployed. I was lucky that my previous bank employer wanted me back. So here I am again, a long time banker. Change is hard.

21 thoughts on “Waiting on the Milky Way

  1. We didn’t see the Milky Way but we did see Star Link satellites. Great pictures, as always.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great photos,both before and after that long awaited sunset. And, yeah, pesky photo-bombing satellites… The photos are still good, even with them there

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  3. Whatever those streaks are, I love them! I want to think of them as shooting stars, please and thank you.

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    • The one night I had at Hartwick Pines, shooting over Bright Lake I saw at least 3 shooting stars, very bright, very fast, but lasted quite a long moment. All of them were behind me…though I DID see one of them in my screen after I turned the camera around and was messing with the focus…so I didn’t get that one either…it’s all luck! They were SOOOO beautiful though that I didn’t mind not getting them preserved forever. They’ll stay forever in my memory.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Spectacular shots! And I love the streaks – let’s call them shooting stars or spaceships or something cool 😉

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  5. I so admire your tenacity, your dedication, and the results of both. The skies are gorgeous, and I don’t take as much time to admire them as I could. I probably don’t take as much time to admire a lot of things, as I could. As to what you’ll do until the next Milky Way season – I’ll bet you’ll find other things to capture with your eye and your lens.

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    • It’s so amazing to be out there at night. Usually it’s quiet and the stars are so bright when I get away from the city. It’s simply amazing. I’m glad to share it with you since we don’t live close enough to each other for me to bring you along live.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I’ve never heard the expression “the blue hour,” but wow, it’s descriptive! You’ve got some outstanding shots here, Dawn. I don’t guess I’ve ever seen the Milky Way here — probably too many lights — and I enjoy seeing it through your camera’s lens. Wish I could tuck myself into your suitcase and sneak up to MI to see it for myself in October!

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    • Right after the sun goes down, if you take a picture, with a camera or a phone, you’ll notice the blue light. Sometimes you can see it with your eyes, but it’s very evident in images. You are welcome to come on up. Though the hours the MW will be up in October are few. Then we have to wait till sometime next spring! 😦 I’ll have to find other stuff to photograph….I’m sure that won’t be a problem.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Wow – your patience and persistence paid off. Beautiful photos. I thought of you this week when I got up at 3:50 am and the stars were shining bright and I saw the Milky Way too. I didn’t have my camera and I wouldn’t have had a clue on how to catch a photo let alone stack the photos. Congratulations on your adventure. Nice work!!!

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    • Were you up at 3:50 just to see the stars! I hope that was all it was! Here the Milky Way would have set by that early in the morning, at this time of year, but I’m really glad you got to see it!

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      • My cat was hungry at that time. She has a weird clock going on. She repeated the wake-up call time again today. 🤔😏
        I didn’t stay up for the viewing of the Northern Lights in our area this past week. The photos people shared are beautiful! We have seen them in the past from our yard. Amazing stuff to see.

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  8. I love following along on your inpatient timeline. Light (or lack thereof) is really everything, isn’t it? Impermanence at its finest. I’m so glad you were rewarded with that beautiful night sky, and were able to share it with us.

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  9. I love the lighthouse. You are so funny, Dawn. 🙂 And your photos are so wonderful! But it’s like “if you wanta read the sign go ahead, but I’m waiting for DARK.” 🙂 You are wonderful. I love evening. It’s a lot like autumn to me…the change.

    Oh my, I’m truly stunned by the appearance of the Milky Way. I’ve never seen it. Oh my. Yes, stacking (I’m a Microsoft systems engineer), but more important is … oh my, the Milky Way seen by your own eyes. Really appreciate the time and effort it takes you to share this with us.

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    • The Milky Way, seen with the naked eye is more like the 2nd one from the bottom, and then only if you’re in a really dark place with no light to distract you. But the camera sees it oh so much brighter! It’s always a heart stopping moment when I see the first image on the back of my camera.

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