Expert will share tips on shooting photos of the Milky Way

You’ve seen them at multiple places: a photo of the Milky Way arching over the night sky. How do they do that? Can I do that?

You can get those questions, and more, answered at a free presentation by Royce Bair on how to photograph Milky Way landscapes.

Bair is a semiretired magazine photographer who has been doing nightscape photography for three decades. His photographs have appeared in National Geographic, Smithsonian, Reader’s Digest and American Photo. Bair has a new ebook, “Milky Way NightScapes” that will be out in March.

While starry night landscape photography is challenging, Bair’s step-by-step recipe will have participants capturing Milky Way nightscapes the first time they go out on their own, said Don Thompson, chairman of the Tacoma Mountaineers photography group.

Bair will give a digital slide presentation, with lots of technical, how-to information, Thompson said. That includes planning when and where to shoot the Milky Way, forecasting, finding dark skies, calculating star alignment, choosing the right lens, exposure calculation and noise reduction techniques.

Bair shoots many of his unique photos as one exposure with very little digital manipulation.

“In recent years, many people have tried to copy his night photography style and techniques, but Royce continues to push the astro-landscape photography envelope,” Thompson said.

Now living in West Jordan, Utah, Bair teaches the techniques he has developed in a career that began in 1973 through free lectures and paid workshops.

“Seeing many of my students go beyond what I have done and use these skills to photograph the Milky Way with new landscape features is very satisfying,” Bair said in a news release.

Participants will not need to bring their own equipment, since this is a workshop, said Joe Becker, one of the organizers. He also said the content will be geared to those photographers with cameras capable of shooting exposures up to 25 seconds and at high ISO levels (3200-6400).