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Toutle, Washington

Night Photography at Loowit Viewpoint

Originally added by Matt Klemsz

Whether you're star gazing with the naked eye, or photographing the milky way and northern lights, this viewpoint will allow you to see into the depths of the universe like never before!

From roughly May to September, both star gazers and photographers alike travel to the darkest locations in order to capture something truly magnificent- the galactic core of the milky way. The Loowit Viewpoint is unlike any around due to the perfect combination of it's remote location, higher elevation and endless 360 views. 

Looking to the south, the core of the milky way passes directly overhead the summit of Mount St Helens during these months, the best time to view such a sight is during each new moon as this not only helps reduce the amount of light pollution in the air, but will also allow you to see the core of the milky way more visibly with the naked eye. If you're struggling to find the core there are also multiple apps available for free/purchase in order to better help  your experience (Photo Pills and Sky Guide are the most popular). These apps also help you perfect your planning and timing as they can help indicate information previously unattainable.

In terms of taking the shot, there are just a few simple tricks to help you get started...

1) Begin with using a wide angle lens (lower the f-stop the better as this lets more light in to the camera)

2) Boost your ISO (anywhere between 3200 and 8000 should do the trick)

3) Set shutter speed to between 10-20 seconds (too long of a shutter will create star trails)

4) Use a tripod (as with any long exposure, any movement will ruin the shot)

As you begin to take photos, you'll be able to adjust your camera settings to better reflect the shot you have in mind. If you're lucky enough, you may even see the northern lights! As the name indicates, this rare phenomena is located to the north and while the process in photographing this is similar to that of the milky way, it's a sight that if seen is truly a once in a lifetime experience. 

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Easy Parking
Handicap Accessible


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