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Milky Way Shooting Tip

Best Time at Night to Photograph the Milky Way

Photographing the Milky Way requires a dark sky to provide the best opportunity for success. Therefore, knowing the optimal timeframe to photograph the Milky Way is a key factor to success. The biggest obstacle to a dark sky is reflected light from the sun. Even the smallest amount of sunlight in the twilight sky will overpower all but the brightest stars. There are three periods of twilight after the sun has set: Civil, Nautical, and Astronomical, with a dusk after each period. The darkest period during the night is the Astronomical Dusk which follows the Astronomical Twilight. At Astronomical Dusk there is no sunlight affecting the night sky. This final dusk, Astronomical Dusk, typically occurs 1.5 to 2.5 hours after sunset. Usually, the best time to obtain the darkest night skies is between two hours after sunset and two hours before sunrise.

Although following the general rule of photographing a starry night two hours after sunset and two hours before sunrise is convenient sometimes you may want a more precise determination of Astronomical Twilight. For this, I use the PhotoPills iPhone app. Using the PhotoPills' iPhone app, open the Planner feature, and you can easily determine schedule of the twilights. PhotoPills will allow you not only to determine the current day but any day in the future the twilights.
PhotoPills is a remarkable tool for planning a Milky Way shoot as it offers so many features to assist you in making proper plans.

In the example below, the PhotoPills app shows that Astronomical Twilight ends at 8:27 p.m. thus the beginning of Astronomical Dusk and the beginning of the darkest night sky.

Photopills screenshot of Milky Way

The PhotoPills example below shows that if you were in Death Valley National Park on this particular day the Galactic Core of the Milky Way would be visible from 2:14 a.m. to 5:24 a.m. This is very helpful so that you when the Milky Way core is visible and can plan accordingly to arrive an hour before.
Photopills Milky Way Visibility

Celebrate Their Graduation

A great way to celebrate the graduate is to have their portrait made into a metal print. Checkout some of the new graduation designs. Metal prints are a unique and creative way to display those cherished high school memories. For graduation we designed a special themed metal duet (a metal print floats above another metal print). Also a metal print collage with photos from their childhood to current day makes a special and memorable gift.

Graduation Metal Print Duet

Do Something Special with Senior Portraits

For everyone involved (parents, grandparents, siblings) with a senior soon graduating from high school it is an extremely special time. It is a rite of passage to be remembered. The senior portrait is a milestone moment to be captured as the young adult emerges from a young child and hung between baby and future bridal portraits. Pixel2Metal has designed a couple of unique senior backgrounds for use with senior portrait images. These designer metal prints make a wonderful keepsake and gift for family and friends to cherish for years. Simply upload the senior portrait photo and align image within the background and add some text if you wish.
Graduation Metal Print

Valentine's Day Themed Metal Print

All you need is a photo to make a memorable Valentine's Day gift for that special person in your life. Simply upload your photo and position it within the photo area and you are about done. We did all the work upfront in designing this Valentine's Day themed print by incorporating a retro chalkboard background along with some other stylistic features. It's simple and quick to create a lovable Valentine's Day gift. This Valentine themed metal print is 8x10 and can hang on a wall or sit on a desk.

Valentines Metal Print