This morning as I was prepping for my radio talk show “Live with Renk” I came across an article in MLive which stopped me with a beautiful picture of the sky over the Mackinac Bridge.

Over the last few years I have fallen in love with the beauty of that part of our state so I decided to click on the link and read about the picture.  I found it interesting enough to write about it and give all of you the ability to also learn of this beautiful picture and what the photographer had to do to get the shot.  I then found many more beautiful pictures at the photographer’s site.  The photographer’s name is Shelly Leigh and her site is titled Michigan Milkyway.

Courtesy of Michigan Milkyway
Courtesy of Michigan Milkyway

The above photo looking straight up from the Mackinac Bridge with a back drop of the star-studded night sky is beautiful and it made me wonder how did she capture that picture. Shelly explained that the photo is actually a composite image, something that she rarely does because “she prides herself on producing “real” - not composite - images”.  

Shelly stated that this picture is:

as close to real as anyone is ever going to get...I’ve been trying to do this for two years – get a shot like this...I’m happy with this because it is as close to real as it could be.

How did she get the shot?  Well according to the Mlive article Shelly:

positioned her camera facing skyward on a tripod secured on the center console of her SUV that has a panoramic sunroof.   With that The camera was set up to take multiple photos per second during the drive across the bridge from the Lower Peninsula to the Upper Peninsula during the “blue hour,” which occurs after the sun has dropped below the horizon.

Shelly went on to explained that she:

used two programs to capture the night sky: Stellarium, an astronomy software program that tracks the sky; and StarTracker, which takes three- to 12-minute exposures of the sky. The sky was photographed about a mile from the bridge near St. Ignace in the Upper Peninsula...Leigh then used the GPS coordinates in the photo metadata to match up the tower and night sky in the composite to create the image that she could have gotten standing on the bridge.

Interesting to find out what she had to go through to get the shot and the fact that the photo metadata actually has GPS coordinates.

Well I hope you enjoyed these pictures and how the bridge picture was produced.  Check out Shelly’s site at Michigan Milkyway to see more of her beautiful work.

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