Elusive Milky Way Galaxy captured in East Coast Park, Singapore on 30 March 2014. The light pollution near the horizon was caused by the city lights and anchored vessels. Drag the slider below to see just how bright the sky was before the Milky Way was unveiled using my custom Photoshop actions. I’ve also done a timelapse at this scene.
I have been asked several times on the locations to shoot Milky Way in Singapore and the answer is really anywhere is possible. Contrary to popular belief, shooting Milky Way is not technically impossible in Singapore anymore and I have chose to shoot the Milky Way at a popular location this time round to show that it’s technically possible. Like all my other Milky Way images taken in Singapore, the datasets are acquired locally and you can play with the slider above to see the before and after. It may seem impossible and challenging to amateur photographers and those who are new to astrophotography but a truly experienced astrophotographer will never tell you it’s technically impossible to produce Milky Way images in Singapore. All you need is a DSLR and a tripod.
The real challenges, on top of fighting light pollution, about shooting Milky Way in Singapore are to find a good foreground that goes well with the Milky Way, to compose my shot without seeing the Milky Way visually or from the LCD screen and to balance the exposure as the foreground is usually 3 stops brighter than the light polluted sky. And finally the real fun comes when I try to unveil the beautiful and elusive Milky Way galaxy via post processing.
To be able to produce Milky Way images in Singapore with just a single exposure is a big thing because it’s definitely more challenging, considering the limited number of signals you get with just one exposure. I have done a timelapse video, comprising of more than 500 images, showing the rise of the Milky Way Galaxy in Singapore to prove that single exposure is technically possible, albeit much more challenging.
If you are wondering just how bright Singapore is, assuming I am using a 16mm lens @ F2.8, here’s some DSLR settings for comparison.
In dark places like Mount Bromo: 30 to 45 seconds @ ISO1600
In most of the dark places in Singapore: 3-4 seconds @ ISO1600 or 1 second @ ISO6400
So if you’re able to shoot using longer exposure time, there’s a high chance you will be able to unveil the elusive Milky Way in your city too. Happy exploring!
P/S: My next article in Space.com will cover the night sky of Singapore and if you have an amazing landscape picture of the light polluted city to share, please email them to firstname.lastname@example.org for a possible inclusion. Acceptable landscape images are sunrise/sunset, blue hour, wide-field astrophotos, deep sky and all images must be taken in Singapore. Check out my first article in Space.com here.