Milky Way Amish Country Travel Photographer Motorcycle TouringAnother fine image that came out of one of my many trips to The Amish Mennonite Pennsylvania Dutch Country near Lancaster, PA. Though most of the photographs I create in this area document the lifestyle of the wonderful, hard-working Amish people there are numerous other distractions to catch a professional photographers eye. As you peruse this web site you will see not only my images of working Amish farmers, buggies traversing the landscape and other scenic wonders, but other attractions as well. Images from The Strasburg Rail Road and The Rail Road Museum of Pennsylvania can be seen in quantity on these pages. This particular trip to the Amish countryside happened to coincide with a new moon within a summer month in this Northern Hemisphere locale; along with a forecast for clear cloudless skies. Coupled with the relative darkness of the rural area this would provide a good opportunity to photograph the galactic core of the Milky Way. One does not simply go out and take a picture of the Milky Way. A certain amount of planning is involved. First, and foremost, is to pick a location for the photograph you envision while it is still daylight. Then one must arrive at this location in the short time after sunset when the ground and foreground subjects are still being illuminated by the receding daylight. Your camera gets locked down on a tripod to take a picture of the foreground elements and then the waiting begins. It takes a few hours for the ambient daylight to disappear entirely revealing the stars in the sky above. Once they present themselves a series of long duration exposures are made to capture all of the splendor of the Milky Way’s galactic core…which is barely visible to the human eye; even after acclimating to the darkness over a period of hours. The final piece of the puzzle is to combine all of these images together in the computer to create the final presentation. The image is a composite of the foreground elements and the long exposures of the night sky. The camera is locked down throughout the entire time of capturing the multiple images but the stars are not. They continue to move through the night sky as you capture your series of exposures. Dedicated computer software is used in post production to "realign" all the stars to render a final composite image. Of paramount importance when creating a night sky photograph is choosing a dark…very dark…location; as any ambient light from nearby civilization will pollute the image and make it less than ideal. In this image the lights of the city of Philadelphia, some 60 miles east, is reducing the dramatic rendering of the constellations overhead. Though still a "nice" image it is certainly not ideal. Elsewhere on this sight you can see some of my night sky imagery from Acadia National Park in Bar Harbor, Maine. That truly desolate area provides much better conditions for imaging the night skies. I truly enjoy creating images of the galactic core of the Milky Way and will certainly be creating additional examples in the future. Stay tuned.