With all the lock downs and the wetter than usual weather patterns due to La Niña, I feel like the 2021 Milky Way core season has barely got here and find myself scrambling to find time and clear sky in the last few weeks before it disappears from view until the new year. It’s not about quantity though, it is about quality, and I feel I managed to a couple of really great nights out to see out the season. Will be looking for different targets over the summer months, but am already looking forward to the Milky Way core returning to the eastern skies in the wee hours of the morning in late January.
It really has been a trying year with lock downs and persistent cloudy weather, it has been very hard to maintain the connection I’m used to feeling with the night sky. September through to early November is usually my favourite time for taking Milky Way shots as it stretches out flat along the western horizon. This season I only managed a couple of nights out, however the quality of those nights has been a significant step up. A lot of this has come about through refining my acquisition process to include tracked shots of the Milky Way. A big part of this is the method I now use for polar alignment of my MSM star tracker, taking me no more than a few minutes. It is now barely any extra effort to take tracked exposures which has very significantly improved the quality of my images.
I love the South West Coast of Victoria, it is the area I grew up in. Winter weather being extremely volatile along this rugged coast makes it all the more rewarding when you you are fortunate enough to get a window of clear sky. I Managed to get a single clear day in a week while staying with family which just happened to coincide with a new moon. I headed to one of my favourite dark sky spots in the area to see what I could capture, using very low level constant lighting on the beautiful sandstone cliffs in the foreground. Unfortunately I arrived about an hour after I had intended and was only about an hour into the session when a very thick sea fog rolled in and completely drowned out all visibility of the sky.