On his blog you can find a detailed description of how to photograph the Milky Way. Here is a summary of the most important aspects:
Basic Camera Equipment
- Camera with interchangeable lenses (the larger the format, the easier it will be to photograph the dark sky)
- Tripod (camera must be completely stable for at least 30 seconds. Any minimal movement will distort the photo)
- Wide lenses (It will provide a bigger panorama of the sky and the stars in it)
- Check if the location has a heavily polluted sky (light pollution map)
- Check if you can be in complete darkness (It can be a forest or an empty beach) – Photos of the stars and the milky way from a city are not possible. Visibility is very low.
- Pack a lamp to take with you
- Check the weather conditions: Skies must be completely clear. Any little cloud will be visible when photographing the sky
- Use apps like SkyMap and SkyTracker to find out the movement of the moon, the milky way, and the stars. Sky Map even lets you check in the future how the sky will look like using the option time travel
- If you are traveling in a cold place, take proper clothes for going outside. The night is the coldest time and you will be outside and exposed.
- Check that you are photographing in RAW format – A couple of times I realized later I was not
- Set your lens in Manual focus (Learn how to do it beforehand – Sometimes is very easy, other times you need to know where to click)
- If you forget a tripod, use the timer mode. You can still photograph using bags, stones, or the ground as a base.
- Learn how to edit the dark sky using YouTube tutorials – They are very useful.
What I use for photographing the milky way?
- Sony A7rii
- Sigma Opera 16-28mm f2.8
Once you manage to learn how to photograph the milky way or the dark sky on a single frame, you can learn other more fun and interesting methods to get to most of the sky using telescopes or stacking photographs to increase quality.
Another blog article by Juan with additional useful information.