goHOWiE logo

Milky Way #5

Milky way rising up vertically over the volcanic hills of the Teide National Park on Tenerife in the Canary Islands

The story behind this image

I just love getting out after sunset to gaze at, and photograph the night sky.

Mind you, in this increasingly light polluted world, finding a good spot with dark skies is getting more and more difficult.

And then there's the question of the weather, as cloudy, damp or hazy night skies don't really work if you want to see celestial objects in all their splendour.

Oh, and don't forget the moon, as any moonlight stronger than that which occurs a couple of days either side of the new moon just obliterates the fainter details that add so much to the night viewing experience.

So when Liz and I planned our winter break to Tenerife in the Canary Islands at the end of February 2017 I was delighted, as the Teide National Park around the volcano Mount Teide in the centre of the island is a well known dark skies viewing location, and what's more, the new moon occured slap bang in the middle of our holiday week.

In the end we ended up visiting the park during two seperate days and nights, revelling in the fresh, clean cloud free air at 6,500ft above sea level and being amazed at the jaw dropping volcanic landscape.

Of course I planned on making the most of the opportunity to photograph the skies after dark, and spent most of my efforts on creating time lapse videos of the sunset and onset of night.

On our first evening's stay in the park we ended up at the very popular viewing point overlooking Los Roques de Garcia, where I shot 1000+ still images to make my Tenerife Teide Time Lapse #2 video.

By the time I'd finished that shoot the skies were fully dark, having passed astronomical twilight, and the clear night sky was awash with a myriad stars.

Turning my gaze southwards the milky way was clearly visible, rising vertically like a firework rocket from in-between a gap in the hills, with the constellation Orion just off to the side.

So before finally packing in for the night and driving back to our resort on the south coast of the island I swung my tripod mounted camera round from west to south to capture the scene.

My camera controls were set to maximise the amount of light captured, to make sure I could create the best image possible during post processing, and I was quite suprised to see a distinct orange glow towards the bottom of the frame once the 20 second exposure was complete.

So it seems that even at 6,500ft up in the centre of Tenerife there's still light pollution, coming from the brightly lit coastal resorts to the south.

When processing this image my first thought was to remove the orange glow, but on reflection I decided to leave it, as the contrasting colour gradient from the orange horizon to the deep blue of space above to my eye looks very attractive, and sets the bright band of the milky way off very nicely.

Maybe a hint of light pollution is not such a bad thing after all!

Image data

Filename - milky way 05.jpg

Camera - Canon 6D

Lens - 17-40mm zoom @ 17mm

Exposure - 20 secs @ f4, ISO6400

Filters - None

Location - Teide National Park, Tenerife, Canary Islands

This image - 640x800px JPEG

Conversion - Adobe Lightroom

Comments - High ISO used to capture faint details