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Death Valley Milky Way Shoot

LuckyJames
Enthusiast

I have two nights booked for the New Moon, weekend of Sept 3rd for a astrophotography trip to Death Valley. With all of the wildfire smoke pretty much from Baja California to Greenland, and certainly settling in the valleys, do I postpone to the spring, or give it a shot. I'm a year one Milky Way chaser so need expert advice please. 

Warm Regards - James

1 ACCEPTED SOLUTION

Well its a 7 hour drive from NorCal and the hotel is not inexpensive. It is probably a one off, so many other sites, Utah, Grand Canyon, The Wave etc that we want to visit, so I am inclined to push it to the Spring. Thanks all for your thoughts and guidance.

Warm Regards - James

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kvbarkley
VIP

No one can say, but I would check the prevailing weather pattern a week before you go, if it is South to North, you should be OK.

 

Have you tried to call the ranger station and ask them what the conditions are?

Thanks for your response, yes, I chatted with the ranger this morning, he couldn't see the mountains from the station. I can cancel 48 hours prior to check in. I'm curious if anyone has experience of Milky Way photography in a smoky environment, and what that does to the image. One photographer suggested it may give the stars an "ethereal" look. I'm more inclined to think tight chest and red eyes.....Smiley Wink

If this is going to be a major trip you wouldn't do often, I would cancel and reschedule for a better time.  You might get lucky and have great conditions but the odds are high that there will be a lot of undesirable "stuff" between you and the view you want to get.  Smoke/haze is not going to make things better and I would skip the "ethereal" look opportunity, it would probably still be a fun shoot for you but not if this is going to be a rarely done shoot for you.

 

The smoke could well be like going out to shoot on a night with significant overcast and you probably wouldn't do that.

 

Rodger

EOS 1DX M3, 1DX M2, 1DX, 5DS R, 1D M2, EOS 650 (film), many lenses, XF400 video

ebiggs1
Legend

The "holy grail" for sky shooters is clear and dark skies. But you never know until you try. All shoots are learning experiences.

 

If it is a once in a lifetime trip, remember, it just might be!

EB
EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and several lenses!

Well its a 7 hour drive from NorCal and the hotel is not inexpensive. It is probably a one off, so many other sites, Utah, Grand Canyon, The Wave etc that we want to visit, so I am inclined to push it to the Spring. Thanks all for your thoughts and guidance.

Warm Regards - James

Good luck  Smiley Happy

EB
EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and several lenses!


@LuckyJames wrote:

Well its a 7 hour drive from NorCal and the hotel is not inexpensive. It is probably a one off, so many other sites, Utah, Grand Canyon, The Wave etc that we want to visit, so I am inclined to push it to the Spring. Thanks all for your thoughts and guidance.

Warm Regards - James


Add White Pocket to that list. 

John Hoffman
Conway, NH

1D X Mark III, Many lenses, Pixma PRO-100, Pixma TR8620a, LR Classic

Added to the bucket, thank you.

BTW, make sure you check your sky charts before planning a trip.

EB
EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and several lenses!
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