A 100 degree, wide field of view image of a beautiful Australian billabong at Archeron, Victoria. The single photo was taken at 20:44 on 11/10/2014, facing west.
No wind and a 30-second exposure allowed an amazing reflection of the stars of the Milky Way in the water of the billabong. It also allowed the clouds on the horizon to be warmed by long moonlight travelling from a full moon that was about to rise behind the photographer. I am always amazed how the reflection of starlight captures the true colours of the stars more accurately than when captured directly in the sky.
The brightest portion of the Milky Way extends across the sky. The colours and dark lanes are truly amazing and it’s a pity we can’t see them with our own eyes. The brightest stars around a quarter of the way in from the left edge are the pointers and they lead to the Southern Cross (Crux), which is just above the tree line on the left. A beautiful reflection of Crux can be seen in the lower left corner of the image and as mentioned above, the colour variation is amazing! Just above Crux, the dark region of the coal sack can be seen. Just to the right of centre, below the Milky Way is the orange star of Antares. This is the heart of the constellation Scorpius and is often incorrectly thought to be the planet Mars. The claws of Scorpius are below Antares and its tail extends above it across the bright part of the Milky Way.
I always aim to balance the exposure and gentle processing to try to maintain the relative brightness of stars and their natural colours rather than oversaturating the Milky Way, which can look unnatural.
A single 30-sec exposure, ISO3200, F2.8.
Canon 6D. Nikon 14-24mm at 14mm. Standard tripod. Shutter release.
Adobe Lightroom 5. Topaz Denoise.