After skipping a year, I’m putting together my annual round-up of five favourite Milky Way images. 2022 was a challenging year for Milky Way here. The weather did not cooperate and my schedule never seemed to line up with the brief windows of clear skies when the moon was not too bright. This year was not the best weather and opportunity-wise either, but I captured photos that I had in mind for many years. It’s always so satisfying when something you planned and conceptualized in your head finally works out perfectly. It can take quite a bit of patience and persistence to bring these ideas to life.

Working around schedules is also challenging. Spring is usually my favourite time for photographing the galaxy. But, my spring was extremely busy; I was the Field Sessions Manager (much less stressful than being a speaker the previous year!) for the Lightchasers Nature Photography Conference, ran workshops in Waterton and Jasper, was hired for photoshoots around Alberta in B.C., and I had to squeeze in a filming session for the Royal Museums Greenwich (and five months later I found I won the Aurorae Category of Astronomy Photographer of the Year). No rest for this astrophotographer.

Aurorae Category Winner Brushstroke by Monika Deviat Astronomy Photographer of the Year

I wanted to work on more panoramas this year, especially since I now have an astromodified camera. The modification was done by Spencer Camera and I love it! Somehow I kept choosing compositions and locations that kept me from committing to or being able to photograph panoramas. It’s going to be even higher on my priority list for 2024.

Here’s the 2023 list of favourite Milky Way images. I’ve included some notes on settings and techniques used in night photography.


Milky Way rising beside Crowfoot mountain at bow lake with frost flowers and snowmounds on the frozen lake in Banff

My first Milky Way image with my astromodified camera! I had already tested out the camera on Orion and the results were amazing. The camera allows me to pull out so much more detail and colour from the night sky. For this particular image I tried doing a single very long exposure. I also took shorter exposures that I can stack to help deal with some of the noise when shooting at high ISOs.
I loved the foreground shapes and little frost flowers – a sign that was a bit chilly that night. The foreground shot was taken during blue hour and blended in using Photoshop.


Sky: ISO400 f4 14mm 240s
Foreground: ISO400 f8 14mm 30s
Nikon d810 + Nikkor 14-24 f2.8
Tracked + Blended

Chromatic Ridge

Milky Way over a jagged ridge in Kananaskis Alberta Canada

While one camera was running a sequence of tracked images, I was messing around on a ridge with a second body. I loved the jagged shapes that mimicked the mountain in the background. With a high ISO and taking a series of images to stack for noise, I can still get a really nice detailed Milky Way image. I also focus stacked this image to get the foreground and sky sharp.


ISO6400 f2.8 14mm 15s x9
Nikon z7II + Nikkor z14-24 f2.8

Better in the Dark

Milky Way and Rho Ophiuchi over mountains in the Canadian Rockies

I was surprised at how much detail I was able to pull out of the sky this night, considering there was lots of airglow. Airglow caused by excited particles in the sky and this case it appears as green streaks. Rho Ophiuchi on the right came out really well, too. The colours turned out beautifully. I do need to get a prime lens – the stars on the edges do have some coma.


Sky: ISO400 f4 52mm 240s
Foreground: ISO3200 f4 52mm 60s x3
Nikon d810 + Nikkor 24-70 f2.8
Tracked & Stacked

World Coming Down

Milky Way and Perseids Meteors over Spray Lakes in Kananaskis Canada Alberta

I’ve wanted to get the Milky Way in this position for years. I was finally able to get the weather, timing and my schedule to work out the night after the peak of the Perseids Meteor shower. To catch as many meteors as possible I run a time-lapse. Over four hours this is how many bright meteors were captured. The radiant was behind this camera and I was watching meteors fly around the entire the sky. It was amazing!
To create the image I went through the entire time-lapse sequence and picked out the images with meteors. Then I selected 31 images where the Milky Way positioned right over the lake, stacked them, then overlayed the meteors one-by-one.


ISO6400 f2.8 14mm 13s
Nikon z8 + Nikkor z14-24 f2.8

Ancient Dreams

Woman standing on sandstone formation in Writing on Stone Provincial Park with the Milky Way Alberta Canada

Self portraits can be tricky at night. You have to stay as still as possibles for the exposures in order for you/your silhouette to turn out sharp. I took the foreground shots during blue hour, so this made it a little easier. I also wore all black so the silhouette was happening whether I wanted it to or not.


Sky: ISO400 f4 14mm 120s x3
Foreground: ISO800 f4 14mm 4s
Nikon z8 + Nikkor z14-24 f2.8
Tracked & Blended

Favourite Non Milky Way Shot

Moonset over Wedge Pond with fall coloured trees Kananaskis Alberta Canada

Showing up early for sunrise can have some great benefits. I didn’t think about the moon at all, but the moonset and clouds created a fantastic scene with the fall colours around the pond. Sunrise had some lovely colours and alpen glow, but this was my favourite moment of the morning.


ISO200 f8 15mm 120s
Nikon z8 + Nikkor z14-24 f2.8