Last week I stayed up way past my bedtime to photograph the Milky Way along the shore of Flathead Lake.
The Milky Way is visible in the northern hemisphere from March to October every year, with the core being most visible from April to July. That means there's a relatively short season to photograph the incredible starry display. It takes a little research and a lot of planning to come away with a successful image. The secret weapon - a smartphone app called PhotoPills. If you're serious about shooting the night sky this app is a must! I used it to plan this shot from West Shore State Park on a perfectly dark, moon free (new moon) night. You must to have a new moon, or as close to it as possible, for the core to be as bright and clear as possible. In other words, the sky needs to be as dark as possible. Some other necessary elements are no or little clouds, sturdy tripod, long exposures (but not too long to avoid blurred stars), high ISO and lots of coffee!
For those interested here's the technical details: 15 identical images shot at 25 seconds, f2/8, ISO 3200 for the sky, then 4 images shot at about 2.5 - 3 minutes, f/2.8, ISO 3200 for the foreground rocks. Images then stacked to control noise in Starry Landscape Stacker, and post processed for contrast and color in Adobe Photoshop CC 2019