This was my first shot of the Milky Way shot 2 years ago. I only had entry level gear, a flimsy $10 tripod, not much experience shooting with a DSLR and the first time shooting alone in the dark. But, one thing I did really well was planning. I scouted Google Maps for the best location(facing the mountain from N to S), picked the best possible day(weather, moon phase), time(2:30 AM when the Milky Way is almost vertical, this was in March), woke up at 1:30 AM and got the shot I wanted in just a few minutes, thanks to the meticulous planning. I even knew where I’d park the car and put the tripod before I even got there. I’ve taken many more photos and videos of the night skies since, but this is still one of my most favorite images.
I’ve come a long way since with better gear and techniques, but it’s definitely the planning that has helped me stand out - featured on Nat Geo and several leading magazines/news and recently selected to be screened at film festivals. I cannot insist enough on how planning is more important than anything else to get great shots of the night skies. Thanks for reading.