The Milky Way Rising over Salt Pond Park is my second top 10 shot that I captured on our trip to Kauai in October. And this is another great location for photography on Kauai.
The park has a reef / rock ledge that creates a mini lagoon. Larger waver break over the top of the ledge and create some interesting spray and mini water falls. In addition the reef faces southwest so I was definitely thinking milky way shot for this location.
One of the challenges I find with night / milky way shots is having an interesting foreground that is well lit. Of course one option is to take two images, one for the milky and one for the foreground, and blend them in post. Nothing at all wrong with this approach, I just enjoy the challenge of trying to find a way to capture the image in one shot. So I keep my eyes open for ambient light sources that will provide interesting, but not too bright, light for my foreground. In this case I had it easy. Being a park there were a number of lights for the parking lot as well as some for the common buildings. So I just needed to find a compelling composition that worked with my ambient light.
The ambient light was behind and slight left of my shooting location so I had to adjust exposure and post processing to minimize shadows.
To capture the night shot of the milky way, I setup my tripod in knee deep water and left the rest of my gear high and dry on the beach. The whole concept of wanting a wave high enough to break over the rock ledge but not so high as to swamp my camera was really the only tricky part of this shot.
(*1) I rented the Zeiss Distagon T* 15mm f/2.8 ZE from Hawaii Camera and the service was excellent. The lens arrived at our hotel the day before we got there. Pretty great option for lens rental in the Hawaiian Islands.