Milky Way | Miles City, Montana

I did a quick trip up to see my wife’s family this week in Eastern Montana.  I didn’t have a lot of time to explore, but did get out this past weekend during a new moon and captured the Milky Way out on Strawberry Hill just outside of Miles City, Montana.  It was a perfect evening with the exception of the ravenous mosquitos.  The night sky was clear and the stars were plentiful.

I decided to give my Fuji a quick test to see how it would perform and I’ll have to say I give it a thumbs up.  I had some issues with the EVF that I’ll have to figure out, but overall the sensor performed better than expected.  I haven’t had a chance to process all my files or my 5D Mark III files, but home to compare them here shortly.

I just had my Fuji XF18-55 f/2.8-4 R LM OIS kit lens and it was perfect for some astrophotography. I had it set at f/2.8 at 18mm and made for a perfect shot. The new Sunwayfoto L-bracket was perfect for this event and fired the camera using the remote shutter application via my iPhone to control the camera.

Here’s the image.  I did process the raw using Capture One Pro. I’ve found that the processing engine is much better with the Fuji Raws versus Lightroom. The images are much sharper and cleaner when processed using Capture One Pro.  I do a lens profile adjustment, white balance mostly and then export them into a 16-bit tiff file for import into Lightroom where I’ll do all my keyword tagging and final adjustments for the image.  I did use David Kingham’s Night Photography presets for this image.

Milky Way on top of Strawberry Hill outside of Miles City, Montanta
Milky Way on top of Strawberry Hill, Miles City Montanta | Click to View Large

Capture Notes:

  • ljsaltiel

    Beautifully captured Rick. I have seen others add Capture One to their workflow for Fuji. I assume there is a substantial difference. Do you use Express or Pro version (the difference in cost is large)? I hate the idea of adding to my current workflow but may be worth it.

    • RickLouiePhoto

      Capture One Express is really all you need to process the RAW Images. Here’s a comparison of the two products:

      I purchased Capture One Pro when B&H had it on sale for $149 so the cost difference was minimal. The process of the RAW files is significantly better. I’ve even found my Canon Raw Files are sharper using Capture One. It does make work flow more cumbersome, but for Fuji files it’s worth it. The images are much more crisp.

      I import all RAW files into LR5 first (instead of first importing into C1Pro7), then do the culling/ranking and add keywords in LR5. Then make sure to set LR5 for “Automatically Write Changes Into XMP”. By doing this, LR5 would write the metadata for individual images into their associated XMP files (instead of just the LR5 catalog file). And then import all RAW images into C1Pro7. Now, C1Pro7 would be able to read the XMP files and hence would have access to all the rankings and keywords as previously set in LR5. Continue with RAW editing and initial conversion in C1Pro7. Then save TIFF files of selected images, and import them back into LR for possible further edits in LR as well as for completeness of the LR catalog database.

      You might also consider Iridient Developer to process Fuji Raw Files. Here’s a blog post on ID.

      Hope that helps.


      • ljsaltiel

        Thanks Rick. I think that I will try using Capture One Express as all I am planning to do is initially import the files there for the RAW conversion and then export as TIFFs so that I can import into Lightroom. That is the easiest for me do do from a workflow perspective.

  • Toad Hollow Photo

    Really, really amazing shot here Rick, I just love those colors in the sky! Sure does make us feel small when you observe the universe from this perspective. Ah, the magic of life!!