Cherry Springs State Park Milky Way Photography

Hot Spot Location

Cherry Springs State Park Milky Way Photography

Milky Way/Night Photography Hot Spot Location

Cherry Springs State Park is an 82-acre (33 ha) Pennsylvania state park in Potter County, Pennsylvania, in the United States. The park was created from land within the Susquehannock State Forest and is on Pennsylvania Route 44 in West Branch Township. Cherry Springs, named for a large stand of Black Cherry trees in the park, is atop the dissected Allegheny Plateau at an elevation of 2,300 feet (701 m). It is popular with astronomers and stargazers for having “some of the darkest night skies on the east coast” of the United States and was chosen by the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) and its Bureau of Parks as one of the “25 Must-See Pennsylvania State Parks.”

Cherry Springs State Park was named Pennsylvania’s first dark sky park by the DCNR in 2000. The adjoining Cherry Springs Airport, built in 1935, was closed, and its land was added to the park in 2006 to expand its stargazing area. On June 11, 2007, the International Dark-Sky Association named it the second “International Dark Sky Park”; under optimum conditions, the Milky Way casts a natural shadow. Cherry Springs has received national press coverage and hosts two-star parties yearly, attracting hundreds of astronomers. Regular stargazing and educational programs for the public at the park and the Woodsmen’s Show attract thousands each summer. Cherry Springs also offers rustic camping, picnic facilities, and trails for mountain biking, hiking, and snowmobiling. The surrounding state forest and park are home to various flora and fauna.

The Milky Way is the galaxy that contains our Solar System. The descriptive “milky” is derived from the appearance from Earth of the galaxy – a band of light seen in the night sky formed from stars that cannot be individually distinguished by the naked eye. The term Milky Way is a translation of the Latin via lactea, from the Greek γαλαξίας κύκλος (galaxías kýklos, “milky circle”).From Earth, the Milky Way appears as a band because its disk-shaped structure is viewed from within. Galileo Galilei first resolved the band of light into individual stars with his telescope in 1610. Until the early 1920s, most astronomers thought that the Milky Way contained all the stars in the Universe.[28] Following the 1920 Great Debate between the astronomers Harlow Shapley and Heber Curtis, observations by Edwin Hubble showed that the Milky Way is just one of many galaxies.

How to Shoot Milky Way and Night Sky Photography

What you will need:

Light pollution map – light pollution map

Camera – You will need a camera to control your ISO, shutter speed, and aperture manually.

Lens – A fast wide-angle lens of 1.4 – 2.8 is ideal. If you use a 3.5 or higher (slower lens), you will have to increase the ISO. The higher the ISO, the more grain or digital noise or grain in your photos.

Tripod – A good sturdy tripod is essential for night photography. If it gets windy, you will need a sturdy one. Keep that in mind; when you buy one, it should be sturdy enough to withstand the wind but small enough to fit in your suitcase.

Sky Map – Sky Guide is available through the iTunes Store for $1.99. It has a 5 out of 5-star rating on both the current (3.2) version (1200+ ratings) and all previous versions (8600+ ratings).

Flashlight –  Our choice is Coast brand for flashlights. The ideal flashlight will have high lumens, and you will be able to zoom in and out on the amount of light emitting from the flashlight. Get the HP7, PX45, or the G50. Ideally, go with the  HP7.

Moon Phaze Map – The best time to go is during a new moon, and you want to be in the darkest area possible. The week before the new moon, when the moon has not risen, is a perfect time to go, so check the moonrise chart to see when the moon will be up.

Remote Shutter Release – When painting with light and you want to go over a 30-second exposure, you must have a shutter release to use your bulb mode. When exposing your pictures in general, you can use the remote release, or you can use your camera’s built-in two-second timer.

Use a Tripod – First, you must be on a tripod. A good sturdy tripod is necessary if it is windy. If the tripod moves, your picture will blur.

Focus – Use live view. Use your camera’s live view to focus in the dark, hit the zoom button, and focus on a bright star. You can also use the infinity setting on your lens but do several test shots to see if it is accurate. It can be off a little on some lenses. You can also light it up with a flashlight, focus, then gently, without touching the focus ring, put the camera in manual focus so it will not search for the focus. Each time you move your camera to take your next angel, you would have to do this.

Camera Settings

ISO – Start with ISO 1600 – 3200. This is a common starting point, and you will adjust from here.

Shutter Speed – Remember, the earth is rotating. If you leave the shutter open for too long, you will see star trails that will not make for a crisp image. We want crisp, non-star trail images. Here is the formula to avoid star trails. The 500 rule – Divide 500 by the focal length of your lens. So, if you have a 24mm lens on a full-frame camera, you will set your shutter speed to 20 sec. (500/24 = 20.83). If you are using a crop sensor camera, first do the math of the crop sensor to find the focal length. Cannon is 1.6, and Nikon is 1.5. Convert to full-frame focal length, then use the formula. Nikon 18mm x 1.5= 27mm – 500/27 = 18.51 seconds.

Aperture – Depth of field isn’t critical in these shots, but letting the light into the camera is; therefore, you should shoot wide open. If the depth of field is essential to you, try not to go too high. (wide open =the lowest aperture your camera will allow). You will have to increase the ISO some, which will give you digital noise.

White balance suggestion: Use live view mode to change your white balance settings and see what it will look like. You can shoot in shade or cloud mode as a standard-setting and adjust things later.

Bed And Breakfast

Frosty Hollow Bed and Breakfast – 1077 Cherry Spring Road, Coudersport, Pa. 16915

The nearest place to the Park is the Frosty Hollow Bed and Breakfast. Not only is it the closest, but it is also one of the best B and B’s in the area. It’s a warm, welcoming atmosphere that we search the world for. It’s so good we didn’t want to leave.  Set in a remodeled barn and farmhouse, this creekside B&B is in a picturesque rural valley only a 3-minute drive from US Highway 6 and 0.6 miles from a country club and golf course. Since 1992, the Ayers has welcomed guests to the remodeled barn, which they have beautifully decorated with their lifetime collection of antiques and heirlooms passed down from generation to generation. In 1998, they completely renovated the farmhouse on this 10-acre property where Joe grew up.  They can now offer ten guest rooms, each uniquely decorated with Gail’s special touch. They spare no expense here. SEE MORE INFO ON The Frosty Hollow Bed and Breakfast on our Full article on Cherry Springs State Park

and  Our Frosty Hollow Bed and Breakfast at Cherry Springs State Park Page.

Cherry Springs State Park, Milky Way Photography -  Pamela Goodyer
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area information - photography

AREA

INFORMATION

Park and Area Information Cherry Springs State Park:

Entrance Fees: NO FEE

SEASONS AND HOURS

The park is open every day of the year, from sunrise to sunset. Day-use areas close at dusk. The Astronomy Field is open to registered users all night.

FOOD & DINING

FOOD & DINING

Cherry Springs State Park, Milky Way Photography -  Pamela Goodyer

Ox York Inn and Restaurant

Ox York Inn and Restaurant – 29 US Highway 6 – Galeton Pa,  814-435-2515 – http://www.ox-yokeinn.com

 RESTAURANT INFOMATION

Add your Restaurant here!

Do you want us to send our photography and ghost-hunting friends to your restaurant after their ghost-hunting trip? Put your restaurant information here. We will put a picture of your establishment, the website link, the phone number, and your information on your restaurant to make it easy for our photographers and ghost hunters to find you.

Would you like to be a featured restaurant like in this article? If so, please send us an email.  You will be surprised at how affordable our prices can be.

The best hotels while doing photography

HOTEL

INFORMATION

Cherry Springs State Park, Milky Way Photography -  Pamela Goodyer

WHAT HOTEL TO STAY AT

Hotel Information:

Motel and Cabins – TOP PICKS – Ox York Inn and Restaurant

Ox York Inn and Restaurant – 29 US Highway 6 – Galeton Pa,  814-435-2515 – http://www.ox-yokeinn.com

Add your hotel here!

Do you want us to send our photography and ghost hunting friends to your hotel for their photography or ghost hunting trip? Put your hotel information here. We will put pictures of your hotel, the website link, the phone number and your information on your hotel.

Would you like to be a featured hotel like this article or this one?  Please send us an email.  You will be surprised at how affordable our prices can be.

WEATHER

 WEATHER?

 

Don’t forget that you can use a rain sleeve on your camera if it is raining. If it is bright and sunny, you want to use a low ISO such as 100.

If you are doing photography along with your ghost hunting on cloudy days, you can do running water or waterfall photography to avoid the glaring sun. You can also use an ND filter to get a long exposure for dramatic effects, even in the sunshine. If you ghost hunt indoors in abandoned places, be careful!

Go to our Photography Store after reading all about waterfall photography or neutral density filters.

GOOD CAMPING

CAMPING

WHERE TO CAMP

Add your campground here!

Do you want us to send our photography and ghost-hunting friends to your campground to stay during their ghost-hunting trip? Put your campground information here. We will put a picture of your establishment, the website link, the phone number, and your information on your campground to make it easy for our photographers and ghost hunters to find you. They are good at getting there in the dark.

Would you like to be featured in an article as a place to stay while doing photography or ghost hunting? If so, please send us an email. You will be surprised at how affordable our prices can be.


 

Camping:

CAMPING in Cherry Springs State Park

Make a RESERVATION for Cherry Springs State Park here.

vault toilets

The rustic campground has 30 campsites and a sanitary dump station. All sites include:

  • Picnic table
  • Lantern hanger
  • Fire ring

The campground is open from the second Friday in April and closes in November.

Pets are prohibited in the campground.