Dear Captain and fellow Crew Members,
I have learnt something new today - not everything that looks dark is a shadow.
Having read all the comments here I looked at my image again and agree that dark blobs on the water are the reflections of the shadowed sides of the rocks. Unlike politicians I can admit to have made a mistake and thank you for pointing it out, it now puts "Milky Way shadows" assignment back on my list. I guess sand fields of the Simpson Desert, dried salt lakes or snowy hills would be good targets for capturing the real shadows cast by our Galaxy.
RJN asked me to share the story behind this picture and I am glad he did - it gives me the reason to write about something else than my embarrassing mistake
Ever since I took my first picture of the night sky I plan what I would like to photograph almost every day and the Great Ocean Road on the southern coast of Victoria was on the list of priority targets for a long time. I went there with my family in March this year and was lucky to catch clear skies and zodiacal light around Cape Otway ( http://www.terrastro.com/galleries/cape-otway/
) but by the time we got to the Port Campbell National Park it became cloudy. I used the opportunity to survey the lookouts and mark the exact spots for the future. The weather along the Great Ocean Road is very changing and catching a clear and moonless night there is a difficult task.
Finally in July the forecast looked half-decent and I hopped in the car and drove some 300kms only to find thick and solid cloud cover but around 1am it cleared out and I was rewarded with the beautiful views of the Milky Way away from man-made lights. There are many more nice lookouts along the Shipwreck Coast so I am keeping an eye on the weather and will be going back.
When I came back home I had to squeeze out every captured bit of light from the raw images because the only available light was from the Milky Way. This required stacking and averaging seven images together to bring out the needed detail in the foreground. I use program called Registax for that other astro-photographers use it to process the deep-sky photographs but it works on terrestrial targets too. I also stacked and de-rotated the same seven images to minimise noise in the sky, for that I used another software tool from astro-photography arsenal called DeepSkySyacker. The individual 15-second exposures were shot with Nikon D700 camera and 14-24mm lens at f/2.8 and ISO 3200 .
I feel very grateful and privileged to have my images displayed on APOD and discussed here. It is a wonderful hobby and I get a lot of enjoyment when I do it under the night skies or process the images at the computer.
Private Alex (Terrastro)