My concern about this spot for nightscape photography was the potential for a lot of ambient light. That is indeed the case; the building is really lit up. Even the trees in the foreground are brightly lit.
I'm interested in the technical details. What focal length lens did you use? Aperture? Shutter Speed? ISO? Camera?
An 18mm lens with a 1.6 crop camera is at the end of the focal length limits. It is equivalent to a 28mm on a full frame camera. You need a very wide angle lens to capture as much of the sky as possible. I usually use a 21mm lens on my full frame camera. Sometimes I go down to a 14mm lens.
Good star trail shots require at least an hour of exposure to really make an impact. Here's an example of a star trail created over nearly an hour and a half. http://www.goldimagesphoto.com/Portfolio/After-Dark/i-S7Dkdtp
What apps or websites do you use for tracking/predicting clear sky in Vermont?
I found this.
I use two apps to track the sky. One is Cloud Map. It displays a satellite image of the visible cloud cover from a number of weather stations. It is really good for daytime sky.
I also use the Weather Underground App. It has an infrared satellite image so it displays cloud cover day and night. I was in Utah in May and when clouds came up as we were shooting. We watched the infrared image and could see a clearing making its way toward us. We waited two hours but the clear sky finally showed up and we got our photos.
I use Sky Guide to see a map of the night sky so I know what I am seeing. I also use Photo Pills, especially its Augmented Reality function to see where the Milky Way will be in relation to foreground I want to shoot. It is a great program.
I've seen posts and videos on photopills, pretty impressive and accurate to within a few feet.
This weekend the moon sets in the late afternoon so you will have moonless skies for your shoot. That is a good thing.
The galactic center of the Milky Way will be visible in the southwestern sky from just before 8:00 PM until around 9:20 each night. That said, you can still capture the Milky Way without the galactic center any time after that.
You will want to find a sky that is not contaminated by light pollution. From Waterbury, I think a good choice of location would be at the Appalachian Gap. Take Highway 17 from Waitsfield. It is only about a 10 minute drive from there and Waitsfield is only a 10 minute ride from Waterbury. There is a nice parking area on the right side at the summit. From there you can get a clear view of the southwestern sky.
I hope you have clear skies and good weather for your shoot. Please post a sample of your results here.
Another possibility for a shooting location is the Trapp Family Lodge near Stowe, Vermont. I think it would be a good shooting location but I don't know about the ambient light you might encounter there. There are some open places away from the lodge, so you shouldn't have too much of a light problem.
My first choice for shooting the Milky Way would be the summit of the Appalachian Gap.
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