It's not just about getting the clear skies...

Updated: Feb 5, 2019


The land of high passes, the land of Lamas, the land of extreme temperatures. YES! LADAKH!! It was no less than a battle ground for us during our Astrophotography Trip to this land of extreme tranquility!

Having a “clear sky” is one of the most vital elements for a successful Astrophotography tour! Who would like cloudy nights, fierce thunderstorms, and ferocious showers to ruin the trip?

Inspite of the unfavourable weather forecast our goal of shooting the Milky Way remained steady and unaltered and somehow convincing ourselves that we will get a clear window at least for some time every night, Umesh and I flew to Leh.

One of our friend Ninad, who was coordinating with the locals, reached Leh a day prior to our arrival. The moment I got his message, ‘Landed in Leh’, I instantly replied, "How is the sky? Is it clear?" and he quickly sent a photograph with a deep blue sky and no clouds at all! What a relief it was!

We landed in Leh at 7:30 am the next day, reached our Hotel and the first thing we asked Ninad was, “Did you have a glimpse Milky Way last night?” To which he replied,

“The Sky was excellent in the evening but by the time it was 8 p.m., thick black clouds covered the skies and entire Leh City was drenched with heavy rains. I couldn’t even see the compound wall of our hotel. Also, I was very tired after a long journey and needed rest and time to acclimatise and hence I slept at 11.”

He explained all the things mentioned above in just 6 simple words! “Barish tha BC..! I slept early!” (It was raining..I didn't give a shit!!")

And I knew the exact reason why he didn’t see the Milky Way that night! He didn’t follow the fundamental rule!!

The basic rule that I follow and every other person who aims for shooting the Milky Way should follow is- Stay awake till you see and capture the Milky Way or till the Sun rises! It’s as simple as that!

It is very convenient and easy to blame it all on the cloudy night, low visibility, haze, thunderstorm, etc and sleep in the warm tents rather than torturing yourself by staying awake and bearing the bone chilling cold, windy weather, with super tired body and watery eyes!!

But these were just minor road blocks in achieving our greater object, shooting the Milky Way and we refused to give up!

On our first night in Leh, we booked our stay far away from the city so that we do not miss even a single opportunity of shooting The Milky Way. The view was spectacular! There was no major source of light on the southern side, from where the Milky Way would show up!