If you’re looking for great Milky Way photography, it doesn’t get much better than this. We’ll have the ghost town of Bodie to ourselves for the evening. We’re timing this for near summer solstice and a new moon, when the Milky Way will be directly overhead. Bodie is at an elevation of over 8,000 feet and far away from urban light pollution, so the stars are exceptionally bright. And in Bodie terms, the weather is warmer (although nights are never really WARM in this part of the world).

Sunsets here are pretty danged amazing, too. Alpenglow accentuates the colors, so you can expect bright oranges.

In the unlikely event that the weather doesn’t cooperate, it’s always fun to do light painting of the old buildings.

We’ll begin with a practice session Friday evening, June 19, at Paul Cockrell’s house on the north shore of Mono Lake. Here we can look at camera settings and review technique, all in the comfort of a warm house, and then step out on the deck overlooking the lake for a bit of star photography practice.

For this kind of photography, you’ll need a camera that can support high ISO settings (5000 or more) with minimal “noise.” We also suggest a wide angle lens, 24 or even wider. The largest aperture should be 2.8 or faster. We’ll go over techniques for creating a Milky Way vertical panorama. If you don’t have this gear, rentals are surprisingly inexpensive.

Depending on interests, we may do some side trips in the Mono Lake area. There’s certainly a lot here! I’ve been bringing groups to Bodie and the Mono Lake region since 2004.