Foto Dono's 2021 Milky Way Season - Part 5 - Looking for the Milky Way - June and July

Updated: Jan 12

Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park

I've talked about Equipment and Exposure in Part One and Part Two. However, you soon realize that equipment and settings play a tiny part in capturing the Milky Way. They are just tools used to shape art. Artists, in general, have a love-hate relationship with their instruments that only other artist finds engaging. In the art of photography, technology is an essential tool with creations these days. Artists have either embraced it and become tech-savvy. Some have rejected it and pursue a more established craft. Others only use it when necessary. I'm somewhere in the middle of all that tech-craft pursuing traditional media. Regardless of the tool and how you operate it, nothing is more important than thinking about what you want to say with your art.

I spend the majority of my time thinking about what I want to photograph. When I was 15, my photography instructor repeatedly said, "Think before you click." Still, there is nothing wrong with being creative in-the-moment or having a happy, creative accident. The results from those endeavors are just as valid as planning out a complex project. Being creative is about more than waiting for the inspirational spark. Through any culture, scattered are proverbs, stories, sayings, and sermons about trusting in yourself to get the creation done even when there is no spark. Thinking about what I want to photograph is my way of doing that. Planning out a season like this is just one way of creating opportunities for finding that spark.


Although May is my favorite month to photograph the Milky Way, June is perhaps a very close second. The capture times are from the 9th to the 13th are 6 to 7 hours. The Core's visibility starts by arching over the horizon, starting from the South East. It travels across the sky to become perpendicular to the horizon before it swings to the South West and disappears during the early morning. The Moon is waning and waxing around New Moon and is below the horizon most nights except June 12th. The Sunrise is just around the corner 90 minutes later, providing an excellent opportunity to create some composite landscapes.

During the week of June 17th, the Moon becomes brighter as it moves closer to the Full Moon. The capture times become reduced from 3 to 2 hours under The Waxing Gibbous Moon. Nevertheless, the Moon could be useful depending on the location. I've scouting areas between Horseshoe Beach and Fish Creek, and that location's light pollution is much more subdued. The mosquitoes are another matter. They are out in droves and laugh at whatever bug spray you use. The nights are also getting shorter, with Summer Solstice accruing on June 20th.

June 9th/10th

  • June 9th Moonset 7:58 PM - Waning Crescent

  • Core Visibility - 9:57 PM to 5:02 AM

  • Capture Time - 9:57 PM to 5:02 AM

  • June 10th - Sunrise - 6:34 AM

June 10th/June 11th

  • June 10th - New Moon

  • Core Visibility - 9:57 PM to 5:02 AM

  • Capture Time - 9:57 PM to 5:02 AM

  • June 11th - Sunrise - 6:34 AM

June 11th/June 12th

  • June 11th - Moonset - 9:46 PM - Waxing Crescent

  • Core Visibility - 9:58 PM to 5:02 AM

  • Capture Time - 9:58 PM to 5:02 AM

  • June 12th - Sunrise - 6:34 AM

June 12th/June 13th

  • June 12th - Moonset - 10:36 PM - Waxing Crescent

  • Core Visibility - 9:58 PM to 5:02 AM

  • Capture Time - 10:45 PM to 5:02 AM

  • June 13th Sunrise - 6:34 AM

June 16th/June 17th

  • June 17th - Moonset - 1:35 AM - First Quarter

  • Core Visibility - 9:59 PM to 5:02 AM

  • Capture Time - 1:45 AM to 5:02 AM

  • June 17th - Sunrise - 6:35 AM

June 17th/June 18th

  • June 18th - Moonset - 1:55 AM - Waxing Gibbous

  • Core Visibility - 10:00 PM to 5:02 AM

  • Capture Time - 2:00 AM to 5:02 AM

  • June 18th - Sunrise - 6:35 AM

June 18th/June 19th

  • June 19th - Moonset - 2:29 AM - Waxing Gibbous

  • Core Visibility - 10:00 PM to 5:03 AM

  • Capture Time - 2:45 AM to 5:03 AM

  • June 19th - Sunrise - 6:35 AM

June 19th/June 20th (Summer Solstice)

  • June 20th - Moonset - 3:05 AM - Waxing Gibbous

  • Core Visibility - 10:00 PM to 5:03 AM

  • Capture Time - 3:15 AM to 5:03 AM

  • June 20th - Sunrise - 6:35 AM


Much like June, July starts well for me. The Core's visibility begins entirely above the horizon, visibly looking due South. The tail trails to the East, slowly swinging towards the West. I've got 7 hours to create some fantastic captures of the Milky Way.

I've not decided on a location yet for July. So far, I've been content with going to places I can reach by car. I've been "planning" another trip out West for the last two years. I was ready to go in 2020, but with the pandemic, I shelved those plans. 2021 looks like there might be an opportunity. Still, I'm hesitant to plan a trip like that too far in advance. The dates and time for J