The NEOWISE Comet, Old Faithful, and the Milky Way

The NEOWISE C/2020 F3 comet along with the Milky Way during an eruption of Old Faithful photographed at 12:20am Wednesday morning in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming.

This was my second night in a row photographing the comet here. For this night I came prepared with 3 different cameras/lenses/tripods as I wanted to photograph it at different focal lengths.

This shot here was with my Olympus 8mm f1.8 Fisheye lens. Wanting to get the comet, Old Faithful, and the Milky Way in the same shot I positioned myself along the boardwalk where the comet would be framed to the left of Old Faithful.

I had all 3 cameras set and ready waiting for the eruption, and then the wind picked up. Not good because I feared the wind would blow the spray in front of the comet blocking it from view.

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Let Me Know What Problems You Are Having With Night Sky Photography

I am creating a FREE PDF: Top 5 Tips for Nightscape/Milky Way Photography.

Help me create it by letting me know what struggles you are having with nightscape photography.

Milky Way and lightpainting during summer at Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming at T.A. Molten Barn. Mormon Row Barns.

I will choose the most common problems photographers encounter and use them in my upcoming free tip guide which will be available in early August.

You can fill out the short, 4 question survey here to let me know.

Thanks for your help!

String Lake Milky Way at Grand Teton National Park

Of all the times I have photographed the night sky, shooting the Milky Way at String Lake in Grand Teton National Park has to be one of my top highlights.

Words alone can’t describe the peacefulness encountered that evening as I was sitting on a rock at the edge of the lake in complete darkness, watching the stars and Milky Way reflected in the still water at 2am.

String Lake Milky Way 1400px

I had photographed in this location a number of times in the daytime and as such I had a pretty good feeling this spot would pay off in the nighttime as well. Getting there at night sure is a little harrowing driving along roads in complete darkness looking out for any elk, deer, foxes, or any other animals that might want to dart out in front of you. I kept my speed at 35-40mph, even though the limit was 45mph, just to be safe (as I usually do while driving through the Tetons and Yellowstone at night).

One other safety tip if you decide to go photograph there especially at night – don’t forget to bring your bear spray!

How I Photographed This

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Beware of Bad Rokinon Lenses

If you are into Milky Way and nightscape photography, two of the best lenses out there are from Rokinon – the Rokinon 24mm f1.4 and the Rokinon 14mm f2.8.

BUT – make sure you get a good one!



When I ordered my 24mm lens, I finally didn’t get a good version of the lens until my 3rd one. The first two lenses had issues with one side of the frame being soft.

Today I took delivery of two 14mm lenses, thinking that one of them would be ok. Both were bad and are being returned to B&H Photo. In the meantime I have 2 more lenses being sent my way.

One lens has the issue with being soft on one side. The other lens is sharp side to side, but just off center the image is soft and has what appears to be a glow effect in it.

This image is soft on the right-hand side. Shot at f2.8 on a Sony a7R.

This image is soft on the right-hand side. Shot at f2.8 on a Sony a7R. Click on photo to download the full-resolution image.


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This photo has issues just off-center. Shot at f2.8 on a Sony a7R. Click on photo to download the full-resolution image.


Night photographers love these lenses because they are much less expensive than the comparable Nikon/Canon versions. And not only are they cheaper, but they produce better images with less artifacts when shooting stars wide open.

They are less expensive for two reasons: 1) they are full manual lenses, and 2) the company doesn’t invest much in quality control. The soft side issue I have been having is common with these lenses. The other issue I had? I haven’t come across that one yet.

If you are considering getting one or both of these great lenses, make sure you buy from a company that has a good return policy and be sure to test them out right away! I am hoping one of the next 2 lenses that are headed my way is a perfect one.

Want to take a workshop with me and learn how to photograph the Milky Way and nightscapes? Check out my photo workshop page for available workshops!

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