I have been planning for this shot since December 2015 and that’s also the time when everyone here started to discuss about this “rare” celestial show. Many of my friends made their attempts to capture the planets as early as mid Jan but I knew I could only start in February if I wanted to also include the elusive Milky Way in my image. So here’s what went through my mind during the planning process till the time I executed my shot.
1. I set my deadline to do this and it’s 20 Feb 2016 because after that, the bright Moon will get in my way and planet Mercury will vanish below the horizon.
2. Then I went around the island looking for a suitable location in Dec 2015 and my ideal location should be one that’s unobstructed from East to West so I can capture all the 5 planets including Mercury, which will be located low on the horizon minutes before sunrise. The sky has to be relatively darker as well because I will be making my first attempt to shoot the Milky Way in a light-polluted city just before sunrise, a feat that I once thought it’s impossible to achieve here.
3. Finally decided on one location after several attempts and I visited the same location (it’s huge!) many times to do my test shots, even on cloudy nights, to see if all the 5 planets can fit in the lens that I’m going to use. Apparently I can’t and I purchased a new 12mm lens to achieve this.
4. It’s a waiting game now. It rained for many nights and on some days, the sky was clear until just hours before sunrise. I stayed up till dawn for 4 nights consecutively and I finally got my shot on 18 Feb 2016 morning where the sky was clear from sunset till sunrise!
So here’s my single shot image of the 5 planets along with the elusive Milky Way in Singapore.
And here’s an image taken with my 16-35mm lens before the rise of the last 2 planets to give you an idea on how dark the site was and I really need to service my lens as the sides are too soft!
And I took some selfies with my fisheye lens while my 16-35mm lens was hard at work. Here’s a composite image of the two shots combined.
So there you go! I will be back to the same location very soon.