Chasing The Milky Way

Around three and half years ago, I stumbled upon a Facebook post of a beautiful photograph of the Milky Way with Jivdhan fort in the foreground clicked by my friend Umesh.

Those days I used to visit Naneghat and Jivdhan quite frequently for herping. I was mesmerized by this amazing photograph as I had never seen the milky way before in spite of visiting the place almost twice or thrice in a month.

At that very moment I called Umesh and exclaimed.. What photo is that?? How did you shot it?? I asked him to explain the technique as I was sure he would never hide his knowledge. PS : It was Umesh, who helped me clear all the exams from 5th to 10th standard..!

Umesh described and explained everything to me, right from locating the milky way to processing the RAW files. I hardly understood 10% of what he told me that day. To learn it better and understand the basics, I wanted to shoot the milky way with Umesh, for which I had to wait for nearly 8 months to get the clear skies and dark night.

The Panorama shot with Nikon D500 + Tokina 11-20mm f/2.8

Finally, one fine Saturday Umesh called me up in the morning saying, “bhai, today 4 o'clock we are leaving!!!"

We took off from Thane by ST bus and reached Nenghat Trekking point, after trekking for 2 and half hrs in the dark night we reached on top.

On reaching the field, Umesh introduced me to his extremely knowledgeable team mates, Amol, Amit, Hrishikesh and unveiled their entire setup! I was in shock looking at those huge telescopes but it was a big relief knowing I don't have to handle those for shooting milky way.

While the team was busy prepping, I overheard some names like Orion Nebula, Crab Nebula etc. I had no interested in those objects. The only question I had for them was "When will we shoot the Milky Way?", "Around 1:30," they said.

So in the mean time, I vanished into the jungle. In an hour's time, I came across 3 vine snakes and 1 Bamboo pit Viper. I decided to wind up my herping quickly to shoot Milly way.

Bamboo Pit Viper

Exactly at 1:30 am. we reached a pitch black spot, switched off our torches, mobile phones and all the sources of light. We were waiting for Milly way to appear. Since our Team was full of experts, we had to wait for hardly 20 minutes and then there it was! The Milky way!

Umesh and the team was right there guiding me to shoot, but still the struggle to get a good frame and a decent picture was real!

It was very satisfying to have an identical shot in my camera which was on my mind since a very long time.