Mar 13 2018

This is a 60-Second Handheld Photo of the Milky Way

Photographer Jonathan Usher of Wellington, New Zealand, recently created this photo of the Milky Way rising from the horizon near his city. But get this: he wasn’t using a tripod or any other stabilization — not even a rock. It’s a 60-second exposure shot handheld.

“How does one hold a camera still enough for a full minute?” you might be asking yourself.

That is pretty darn hard to do, if not impossible, but Usher had a trick up his sleeve: he stacked multiple exposures.

Instead of shooting a 60-second exposure in a single photo, he split the photo’s exposure time into 6-second exposures in 10 photos.

“I’ve been having good success with 10 second exposures handheld with my new Panasonic G9 Micro 4/3 camera,” Usher tells PetaPixel. “But I wanted even higher quality — something I could print out say 16×20 inches or so.

“But holding a camera still for a single exposure of 60 seconds — nope, I can’t do that. What I CAN do though is hold the G9 steady for 6 second exposures, 10 times in a row, and stack the resulting images to improve quality.”

So late last month, Usher went out to Wellington’s south coast after the moon had set and shot 10 separate 6-second handheld exposures at ISO 1600, 8mm, and f/1.8. After stacking the 10 photos in post, the dazzling photo of the stars emerged.

“The noise level in the result is rather low and this will print very nicely,” Usher says. “I hope you enjoy the result of my experiment! It shows even without a tripod, a very nice image can be possible.”

View on PetaPixal