Coron, Palawan’s Pristine Dark Skies

Here are some night-sky images taken during our recent visit to Coron, Palawan, one of the country’s top tourist destination, known for its pristine beaches and crystal clear waters.

Coron_Palawan_MilkyWay_Westown
Image of the Milky Way taken in Coron, Palawan, at around 4 am on March 8, 2014 using a Canon 600D and an 18-55 mm kit lens, set at 18 mm, f/3.5, ISO 3200. The camera was mounted on a tripod and was pointed approximately 45 degrees above the southern horizon, at 30 seconds exposure.

Here is another photo taken at the viewing deck atop Mt. Tapyas, a hill situated at the center of Coron’s town proper. It was a long climb taking all 742 steps, but once we have reached the top, it was all worth the effort because we were greeted with one of the best views of the Milky Way we have seen to date.

Coron_Palawan_MilkyWay_MountTapyas
Milky Way taken at Mt. Tapyas, in Coron, Palawan, at around 4 am on March 9, 2014 using a Canon 600D and an 18-55 mm kit lens, set at 18 mm, f/3.5, ISO 1600. The camera was mounted on a tripod and was pointed approximately 45 degrees above the southern horizon, and was exposed for 30 seconds.

Aside from the sea and the sand, Coron also offers pristine dark skies that will definitely impress anyone who loves to gaze at the stars above. To learn how to take photos like these using a DSLR, click here.

For tutorials on how to get started with astrophotography, click here.

For DIY astronomy projects useful for astrophotography, click here.

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© Anthony Urbano (Manila, Philippines)

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5 thoughts on “Coron, Palawan’s Pristine Dark Skies

      • Wow really? yes sir akin yan. try ko kase last week pero alang magandang lumabas heheh meron bang kylangan na required setup? or kylangan kong e modify ung cam ko like your other article?

        Thanks sa info talaga sir.. na inganyo na ako nito :)

      • No modification needed, straight from the box makakacapture ka na ng Milky Way. Follow these steps:
        1. Set the lens’ focal length to wide-field (e.g., 18 mm).
        2. Set the camera’s exposure time to 30 seconds.
        3. Set the lens’ f-ratio (or f-stop/f-value) to its lowest value (set to widest opening of the iris to accommodate more light, e.g., f/1.8 is more preferred than f/10).
        4. Set the camera’s ISO value to moderate. I usually shoot at ISO 1600.
        5. Check that the camera’s flash remains off.
        6. Attach your camera to a tripod and make sure that it is sturdy and does not shake easily.
        7. Since the camera’s auto-focus function will not work in this case, you need to set the camera’s focus to manual mode. You can do this by toggling a switch on the side of the camera’s lens (consult the camera’s manual).
        8. Set the lens’ focus to infinity. Since the Milky Way is too faint, set the focus using a brighter target (e.g., any bright star). Turn the focus ring clockwise or counterclockwise (consult the camera’s manual) to bring any bright star into focus. You may need to look through the view finder first to roughly focus onto a star and then use the camera’s electronic display (e.g., LiveVeiw) to achieve a more precise focus.
        9. Point the camera to the general direction of the Milky Way (use star maps).
        10. Turn on the camera’s time-delay feature to avoid shaking (10-second delay will do).
        11. When ready, press the shutter to take your shot. In this case, the camera will expose for 30 seconds. During exposure, you must not allow any stray light to reach the camera’s sensor, and certainly not allow the camera to move or shake. You may need to shoot several times for proper framing.
        For more info, click here.
        Good luck!

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