PHOTO STORY: Milky Way Motion Timelapse: Cape Cod


Click to watch - and set the video quality to 4K for the best experience!

Earlier this month, I wrote about how excited I am to officially be back in Milky Way season. If you missed that blog, take a read through here to learn why the next 6-7 months are my favorite time of year to shoot the night sky. I have some really fun sessions planned this year, and I kicked things off in mid-March with a short trip down to Cape Cod. The Cape - especially the lower region - combines unique seaside landscapes with some of the darkest skies in southern New England, making it a terrific place to shoot the stars.

I've chased the stars around the Cape a half a dozen times, and in almost every session I've come away with a shot I really like - even if it's not the Milky Way itself. For example, this image of Nauset Light, which I grabbed completely by accident. It ended up being a cool photo! It's allowed me to pick a few favorite locations, but this year I want to branch out a little more, so I headed to a place I've visited many times during the daylight, but never at night - Coast Guard Beach in Eastham, MA.

I had scouted the location earlier that morning, so I had a good idea for what my composition would be. I knew I wanted the arch of the Milky Way rising over the old station, and although there were a few clouds in the forecast, I was hoping to try out a Milky Way timelapse for the first time, so that looked perfect. Should be smooth sailing, right? Guess again.

I arrived at 1:30am to 97% cloud cover and a big feeling of disappointment. I decided to set up the shot anyway and let the timelapse run in hopes that the clouds would clear out after an hour or so. After hours of completely overcast skies, and a few snoozes in the car, the clouds FINALLY cleared around 4am revealing the galaxy core in all its beauty. That view never gets old.

Watch the video at the top of this blog to see what I came away with - not bad, but it was definitely a learning experience for me. I made several mistakes along the way that will help me improve next time, but at the very least, I was able to isolate one of the photos for a great still image. If you look close to the horizon, you can see the skies beginning to brighten as sunrise approaches. 

Here's the still image. Can't wait to get back out there and try another timelapse, and I'm hoping to start building up a YouTube channel with more of these videos in the future. Stay tuned!

Milky Way galaxy rising over Coast Guard Beach in Eastham, Massachusetts
The Milky Way core rising above Coast Guard Beach in Eastham, MA. March 2021