Huangshan and the Milky Way 银河

 
 

A night among the stars.

After an incredible sunset on Bright Top we headed back to Beihai Hotel where we would stay overnight to catch the sunrise the next morning.

Before we went to bed we walked down to Dawn Pavilion to grab a quick shot of the starry evening. The circle viewing point is just a few steps from the hotel and looks out towards Ascending Peak, an incredible vista. There was a bit of cloud on the horizon but it was a beautiful starry night none the less.

As we were walking off I thought to check the Photo Pills app again and it showed that the Milky Way was going to be visible later that night. We rushed in to get some sleep before a 2am wake up call to go and chase it.

 
 

A few hours later, the alarm sounded (how I hate that noise) and we headed out again to Dawn Pavilion. As soon as we left the hotel and looked up we could see the change in the stars. A big bunch of bright stars trailed across the sky with a dark hole in the middle of them. It was our first time seeing the centre of the Milky Way. 

The stars felt so close it was as if we had woken up on another planet. I set up my camera, pointed it upwards and took a single shot. This was the result...

 
 
Look up at the sky and count the stars - if indeed you can count them.
— Genesis 15:5
 
 The Milky Way and a shooting star

The Milky Way and a shooting star

 The tail of the Milky Way

The tail of the Milky Way

 

I took a few more photos and then just stopped and stared until my neck started to hurt. It was awesome. Just awesome. I've seen a lot of beautiful things around the world but there is something special about capturing the Milky Way and watching it slowly spin around above you before eventually disappearing behind the horizon.

 
 

The photo above is a 30 second, single exposure. After about 27 seconds a bright light almost exploded in the sky and shot across the frame right at the last moment. It was the brightest and longest shooting star I've ever seen. It topped off the night and will go down as one of the most memorable experiences I've had on my travels. 

While you were sleeping...

If you're looking for somewhere quiet on what must be the busiest mountain in the world, go out at 3am. It's the only time you'll be alone! We decided to just wait out for the sunrise and it was just us and the stars for hours. Two hours before sunrise the birds started to sing and then exactly an hour before, people started appearing. That's a story for another day though!

 

I hope you enjoyed watching the Milky Way with me! Stay tuned for the epic sunrise that happened just a couple of hour after these photos, coming soon!

P.S. I'd love to know which photo was your favourite. Let me know in the comments below...