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The Milky Way

We recently had a guest stay with us who took some gorgeous pictures of the Milky Way over Helsbury. He said that “this type of night sky photography is something [he] love[s] doing but the sky where [he] live[s] is just too polluted with light from towns and cities so this type of image is reserved for when [he is] away on holiday in places with great dark skies like Helsbury Park”. Stargazing is a wonderful activity to do in Cornwall with our clear night skies. This post outlines advise about how you can take a wonderful photo of the night sky.

How To Take A Great Photo of the Milky Way


Our guest said that it is “essential to have a tripod because you’ll need a long exposure” and told us that his is “20 seconds” and said that “anything over 20-25 seconds and you’ll see trails in the image from the stars moving”.

Wide Angle Lens and Aperture

You will need a “wide angle” lens and as fast “aperture” ( the section of the camera that can be adjusted to let in more or less light) as possible because you need to maintain an exposure time of a “15-25 second range”. He stated that he uses a “14-24mm” lens and an aperture setting of “f2.8”.

Sensitivity and Focus

He reminded us that you need to “bump the sensitivity up” as if you do not the “image will just be black” but do not put it up too much or “it will get blown out or have lots of noise in it”. He used a sensitivity setting (or ISO) of “6400 for this image”. It was advised that you use a manual focus because the camera will not be able to focus on the dark sky and that you will need to understand how to focus at infinity which is “the longest focal point the lens can handle”. Either mark this on the lens if it has “a focus window” or “use a powerful torch to pick something out in the distance that you can focus on”.

Shutter Release

Remember to “set the camera up for a delayed shutter release”  because this will create a short delay after you press the shutter button for the picture to be taken.

Perfect Conditions

He told us that a “dark sky and lots of patience” is essential to the process and if you wish to take a photo of the Milky Way, download “an app for your phone” to show you where the Milky Way is because it is “not very often visible to the naked eye, especially if the moon is bright”.

Your Images

We love receiving pictures from your holidays with us. If you have any that you want to share with us, you can send them via email to If you want to share them with us via social media, we are @helsburypark on Instagram or message us at

All images taken by D. Teagles.