A couple of times each summer, I take a day or two off from my job at a Seattle video production company, and travel to some of the most beautiful places in the Northwest to shoot the Milky Way.

I often wind up going back to the same location multiple time, to “get the shot.” This summer I’ve made two trips to Mount St. Helens. The first time, I was experimenting with lower ISO and tracking. I was very pleased with the result of the lower ISO – down to 3200 from my usual of 6400.

The big improvement is demonstrated in the clarity of the Lagoon Nebula. In previous shots, it has been blown out, but not at this lower ISO. I’m also experimenting with tracking and stacking, for even more clarity.

The result has been such a stunning improvement, I decided to head back to the mountain a month later to shoot a time lapse at 3200.

Like many landscape astrophotographers, I tend to shoot wide – either using a wide lens, such as a 14mm, or shooting panos with my Sigma ART 35mm. In this case, I felt the dramatic beauty of Mount St. Helens called for a tighter shot. I’d shot it wide, and in pano before, and the mountain, though imposing in person, flattened out like an anthill when composed with the towering night sky.

To capture the imposing beauty of the mountain, in conjunction with the core of the Milky Way, I shot it with the 35mm and chose a couple different crops in post.

Here it is, cropped to a 16:9 aspect ratio, with a 100% zoom. Be sure to hit the “full screen” button.


This is what I think of as the “main” version. It’s the only one with music, and I think it’s the one that best compromises between the virtues of a close up and a wide shot.

Lastly – and I do love this one too, here’s the full frame. Lots of meteors and planes in the night sky!


If you’d like a still from the time lapse as a background for your phone, tablet, computer, or FB poster image – you can download them free right here.

Matt Krzycki is the Creative Director at Seattle video production company, GoodSide Studio.

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