Capturing the Milky Way

Being a city dweller, I can't say I've ever seen any part of the Milky Way galaxy in the night sky.  There's just too much light pollution around to make it possible.  And when I was younger, I don't remember seeing it in the night sky either.

I went to Hawaii not too long ago and had my trusty Fuji X-T1 with me, and the 16-55mm f/2.8 lens mounted on it.  I had taken a Mauna Kea Observatory tour while visiting the Big Island with the intent of photographing the night sky.  Little did I know that the timing was perfect to see the Milky Way galaxy.

The first photo shows what the camera captured without any adjustments.

ISO 2000   16-55mm lens at 16mm   f/2.8   4sec exposure

This next photo is the same as the first, but with 2.65 stop increase in exposure!

ISO 2000   16-55mm lens at 16mm   f/2.8   4sec exposure

Not only did the above image show the Milky Way galaxy, but the very center of the Milky Way galaxy itself!

Here's another shot with no adjustments.  In the distance is the Mauna Loa volcano and the red dot is the Mars Dome, or HI-SEAS, basically it's an outpost where life on Mars is simulated.

ISO 800   16-55mm lens at 16mm   f/2.8   13sec

Here's the same image with a 2.2 stop increase in exposure.  It almost looks like the center of the galaxy is erupting out of the volcano!

ISO 800   16-55mm lens at 16mm   f/2.8   13sec

If I could do it over again, I think it would have increased the ISO as high as it could go, because the noise could be adjusted.  The would have meant a slightly faster shutter speed and would have eliminated the minor hints of star movement.

I continually am impressed by the high dynamic range of the X-T1.  What it's capable of just totally blows my mind.  And the fact that it survived zip-lining and snorkeling (in an underwater housing) just attests to the capability and durability of the camera!