How to capture Milky Way Timelapse? Capture Stunning Astro photos under 30s.

The internet is full of amazing photos and videos. Timelapse is one category in between, it is a video made of photos captured at a certain predefined interval. Modern cameras have a built-in timelapse option which is very helpful and saves a lot of your time, memory, and editing tasks. Capturing Milky Way timelapse isn’t that easy for a few reasons which I have mentioned below. But the final output that we get after all the effort is truly heavenly.

Milky Way timelapse

The built-in timelapse option in your camera can be very helpful while capturing Milky Way timelapse or any other timelapse videos. This is good if you can get everything right in the camera, with no further editing or post-production work. All that you need to do is set the time interval. Once this is set, the camera will take care of capturing images, convert them to JPEG, collate, and then stitch all of them into one single small video file.

Note that it will delete all the photos that it had captured and will only keep the final timelapse video. You may edit the video in post-processing. If you do not have this option then you can always use an intervalometer to capture multiple images at different time intervals.

How do you do astro timelapse?

The below video was captured in the Himalayas at Tarsar Lake, Jammu & Kashmir, India. Capturing Milky Way timelapse videos are not that easy. The temperature had dropped to almost four degrees celsius. I’m all alone away from my tent to avoid any kind of stray light from the tent and other trekkers moving around with their torchlight on, around the campsite. I could have used the tent in the foreground which would have been better, but it was too distracting. Moved away from the campsite late at night.

Used my Manfrotto tripod which has a 3-way head used for video. Over which I placed my Nikon D610 full frame camera along with Nikkor 14-24mm f2.8 lens. I used a remote wireless trigger. You may use the in-built feature of timelapse available that will auto stitch all the photos and make a short video or you can have a lot of photos and later edit it using editing tools.

How do you do a Milky Way Timelapse?

About milky way photography settings: Switch to Manual mode. Set the exposure to Bulb mode. Aperture at f2.8, wide open. Set the ISO around 1000, and adjust accordingly if needed. Focus to infinity and set the focus to manual as well. You can use apps to find out where the galaxy is. If it’s a clear dark sky then you can make out where it is. I have not used any app when I captured this as we were camping in the Himalayas far away from any human activities. No moonlight, no light pollution as well.

How long does it take to get exposed to the Milky Way?

capturing star trails

Now that your camera is focused on infinity, set the intervalometer or the inbuilt timelapse option. But before you do this, take a test shot, as shown above, to see how each of the shots will appear. Once you are done with this, set the intervalometer. To get Milky Way timelapse, use exposure in the intervalometer of up to 60 to 120 minutes. Have extra batteries as this will drain the battery. See that you have charged your batteries to their max.

Best interval for star time-lapse

Try a 10-second exposure time to begin with. After experimenting with 10 seconds, try 30- or even longer exposure lengths to add even more light to your photographs. To get the best interval for star time-lapse, play around with the range between 10 – 25 seconds, and find a sweet spot at around 20 seconds. Long exposure settings’ one drawback is their tendency to produce “star trails” while photographing the Milky Way as it sweeps through the night sky.

Now, All that you need to do in post editing is import all the images and then stack all of them. Once the final output is ready this is what the Milky Way timelapse would look like.

Read Next: Night Photography Cheat Sheet – 9 tips

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