At Two Jack Lake in Banff National Park, we attempted to capture the milky-way on May 28th, 2022. Sadly, it was a failed attempt as the weather suddenly changed and the clouds quickly rolled in. The weather forecast had predicted clear skies until about 2 am and then partly cloudy with 20% cloud cover until 6 am. Throughout the night, temperatures were expected to drop and rain and snow were forecast for 7 am.
At 11 pm, we arrived at the location and quickly set up. For the first time this year, we tried to use the star tracker and had done some maintenance on it. The batteries were changed in the polar alignment scope, as well as the watch battery. Polaris was difficult to find due to the cloud, which obscured our view of the stars.
With two tripods set up, we took the first photos with the Canon R5 and tripod without the star tracker attached for a keepsake.
Mirror-like conditions prevailed in the water. Our social media profiles will be updated within the next few weeks with some beautiful shots taken during the blue hour.
For longer exposures, proper alignment of the star tracker is crucial otherwise the photograph appears blurry and you get blurred objects and star trails. Using a 16mm lens, the next photo was a long exposure of 2 minutes. The star trails are visible because the star tracker was not aligned with Polaris.
When the star tracker is aligned with Polaris, the stars appear as though they were taken on the first photograph taken on a stationary tripod, no matter how long the exposure.
The cloud cover made it impossible to align the star tracker with Polaris, so I moved the camera to a stationary tripod. The next shot was taken on this tripod, in manual mode, with a long exposure of about 25 seconds.
On the way out, I decided to see if the Milky Way was visible. Since it was cloudy, the milky-way was quite far from Mount Rundle, which prevented us from getting the shot we wanted. The tripod was moved to the left and another 25-second exposure was taken.
The photograph below was taken shortly before we packed up. The milky-way is just visible between the clouds.
Around 1 am the cloud cover had got us beat. The last shot of the night was taken and we packed up and headed back to Calgary. The wind had increased to about 20 to 24 KPH and the rain was just starting.