Calendar Photo of the Month – Milky Way Over Anthony Lakes
Happy New Year Everyone! It’s finally time to hang your new 2019 Northeast Oregon Calendar and, as promised, I will tell you all about the January photo. I titled this photo Milky Way Over Anthony Lakes. This photo was taken at Anthony Lakes in Northeast Oregon. The mountain on the left is Gunsight as many of you probably already know. The next peak in the middle is Lees Peak and on the right is The Lakes Lookout.
What might surprise you is that this photo was not taken in January, it was taken in May. I wanted an opportunity to capture a photo of the Milky Way while there was still snow on the mountains. Snow really brightens up the mountains so they can be of interest too, not just dark outlines. But as usual, I am a little greedy and I also wanted to capture reflections in water. To do that, you must wait until the snow begins to melt from the lake. The melting process can be hard to catch since it varies from year to year and depends greatly on the weather. It can melt very fast once it starts too. It’s easy to miss if you don’t visit often during the late spring.
In 2018, I was lucky. The night of May 15, 2018 was going to be the best opportunity to capture the Milky Way. It was a new Moon so the sky would be dark enough to see the faint glow of the Milky Way. The sky was clear with no clouds in the forecast. I knew the Milky Way would be visible over Gunsight in the very early morning hours. This was going to be my best chance to get the image I was dreaming of.
Capturing the Shot
I left Baker at about 1 a.m. in the morning. It takes just under 1 hour to drive to Anthony Lakes area. After parking, we walked about ¼ of a mile to the location where we set up. For those of you who might be interested in the camera settings, I shot this at ISO 800, ƒ2.8, 60 seconds with my 20mm lens on a tripod. I also bracket like crazy, which is taking several shots, each a stop or two under and over exposed. It’s a safety measure that often pays off when processing.
My camera is a Pentax K3II which has a built-in feature called Astrotracer. This is pretty amazing for Milky Way photography. The camera uses built-in GPS to move the sensor in pace with the rotation of the earth so the camera can stay focused on the stars longer before streaking happens. This movement allows me to leave the shutter open longer and collect more light making the image much brighter.
To create this image, I stitched 3 images across the sky and 3 images of the reflection on the lake. Then I cropped it down to a pleasing composition.
The smaller photo, in at the bottom of the number page is also Gunsight Mountain. This photo was shot just prior to sunrise on a beautiful March morning.
I did not put information about the photos were taken in the calendar this year. I knew that I can share so much more of the story by blogging about it. Near the first of the month, I will post the calendar image story, here and on my website, so keep an eye peeled if you’re interested.
By the way, I still have a few calendars left if you want to get one and follow along with the stories. You can get one on my website oregonexposures.com or send me a message via my Facebook Page, Lori Rowland Photography – Oregon Exposures.
If you enjoyed this story, you might also enjoy The Five Peaks of Anthony Lakes.
I wish you all a happy and healthy new year! 🙂