Milky Way / Galactic Center Shoot

First off, make sure you choose a place and night where the night sky is as dark as possible. You can use a resource like, or an app like "Dark Sky Finder" (iOS only at this time, but I am certain there are similar apps for Android) to minimize light pollution, if possible. In addition, it would be best to choose a night with a new moon. Apps to help find moon phase abound, but my favorite is Photo Pills. Besides phase, set and rise times for moon (and sun,) it will also show Galactic Center visibility and azimuth, as well as calculate shadow length, depth of field, hyperfocal distance, star trails, etc. It’s great for planning, and can be used to pre-visualize once on site.

Another option for this is “The Photographer’s Ephemeris” (‘TPE’), which provides many of the same planning tools as Photo Pills. TPE has the advantage of a free web-based planning version, and is available on iOS and Android.