Consider this to be a practice session for the upcoming three Milky Way shoots in more remote areas. I chose Chatham because it is fairly close to the Boston area. See calendar for upcoming shoots, these will recur each month towards the end of the month.
March to October are the best time to view and photograph the interesting south end of the Milky Way. I'd like to do several meetups to focus (!) on Milky Way and/or astro-photography shoots, but want to do these in warm temperatures.
Sunset is 8:25 and this is a morning crescent moon night, moon sets in the afternoon and perfect for viewing the Milky Way, including its beautiful and colorful south end. The Milky Way rises in the East, best viewing is after 10 p.m., but we will get together at 9:00 to orient ourselves and talk about best practices. You might want to come earlier to shoot the sunset behind the lighthouse.
We will meet at the Chatham lighthouse. There is a big parking lot right across from the lighthouse with access to the beach. The location is facing easterly dark skies, the eastern coast of Cape Cod is actually one of the darkest places in MA. This location will give us the lighthouse and surrounding area as a backup and in case weather doesn't cooperate for the Milky Way. The lighthouse is also a US coast guard station, so make sure not to trespass on whatever looks like government property.
Any super wide to normal lens (12-50 mm full frame, 10-35mm cropped sensor) with a minimum aperture of 2.8 or wider (2.0, 1.8 or 1.4 are better). Sturdy tripod and remote control. Intervalometer is a must-have if you want to shoot star trails or time lapse. If you have two cameras, you may want to bring both and use one for star trails/time lapse, the other for individual shots.
Absolutely no head lamps allowed and please keep any bright light use for light painting only and to a minimum. Please learn to use your camera controls blindly, without having to use a flashlight. Get a red pen light from Amazon.
How to shoot the Milky Way?
Here is David Kingham's 10 steps to shoot the MW:
If you have equatorial mount equipment, you can include true astro-photography into this evening by tracking some formation and taking photos of it.
Position of the Milky way at 9:30, just after dark, still close to the horizon. It will rise up higher and be less impacted by the atmosphere as the night progresses. This will be a long night, you may want to bring a mat, chair or sleeping bag. Bring appropriate clothing, bug spray, fluids.
Here is more inspiration for you.
Here is an overview map of the site: parking is right at the red "A", the lighthouse is just to the left of it and lot has access to the beach.
And, finally, here is what we will be trying to shoot, this is an image taken by Mike Taylor - Milky Way over Lighthouse. Check out Mike's page "Taylor Photography" (This may not quite work as well, depending on how bright the street lights are!)