Funded! This project was successfully funded on April 2, 2013.

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Two astrophotographers set out to capture the perfect Milky Way image.

All Stretch Goals Met!

All stretch goals have been met so we will also be giving away 5 hard covered and 5 soft covered books.  These books will be drawn at random after the project is over.  As mentioned before, the 5 hard covered books will be drawn from pledges of $100 or more, and the 5 soft covered books from pledges of any amount!

Featured on CBS News & Mashable!

We are pleased to announce that some of our work is being featured on the CBS News Website & Mashable!  Check it out:

http://www.cbsnews.com/2300-205_162-10016222.html

http://mashable.com/2013/03/26/milky-way-picture/

New Reward & Stretch Goals!

A new reward has been added: Vinyl laptop skins!  These skins are high quality vinyl with adhesive that won't leave a sticky residue on your laptop.  They are custom made to fit Mac and PC laptops in sizes of 11", 13", 15", and 17", and are available for $60 (add $5 extra for 17" please).  Any pledge of $50 or more may also add a laptop skin for only $35!  The size/model you need will be obtained after the project is over.

We will also be giving away the few remaining Dark Sky Tour books that we have left from the last project.  The 11x8.5 inch hard covered books are signed, limited edition and numbered out of 50.  We will be raffling off one hard covered book out of pledges of $100 or more for every $1000 increase starting at $6000 up to $10,000!  We will also be raffling a 9x6 inch soft cover version of the book for pledges of ANY amount for every $1000 increase starting at $6000 (up to $10,000)!

Stretch Goal #2!  $4500

We usually make time lapses of the nighttime sky when we're out and about doing astrophotography.  It has been a goal of ours to get an excellent time lapse of the entire night from sunset to sunrise.  With a 3rd camera on hand now, we will be able to dedicate one of our cameras to all-night time lapses much more often, and we anticipate getting a great one while fulfilling this project.  So, if we can make it to $4500 by the end of this project, everyone who pledged $20 or more will also receive a DVD of any time lapses we make along the way!  The DVD will also include a slideshow of the Milky Way images we produce!  Thank you so much for your support!

New Reward: Digital Prints!

Any pledge of at least $20 will also receive digital prints of all the Milky Way shots that this project produces!  The digital prints will be sized so that they can be used as desktop backgrounds, and will be available for download from a special website.

Wow! Stretch Goal Already!  $2500

It took less than 48 hours to reach our goal!  WOW!  We can't thank you all enough for your support and enthusiasm for this project!  Since we still have a month to go, we would like to present an extended goal:  If we make it to $2500, we will be able to not only rent some top of the line lenses, but we will also rent a top of the line camera to go along side our two already awesome cameras!

Operation Milky Way:

Our Kickstarter project last year Dark Sky Tour was an overall success, but we were left with the hunger to get one shot much better: The Milky Way with an amazing foreground! 

When we do astrophotography, we attach our camera to the telescope where the eyepiece would normally go.  We can then track an object through the sky to take several long exposures.  Ultimately, the series of exposures are "stacked" using software which improves the signal to noise ratio of the overall image.  To put it simply: several stacked images produce a lower noise, clearer, better overall image.

Keeping the noise low is essential for printing large sized prints.  While our images of galaxies, nebulae, and anything else we can track through the telescope print just fine at large sizes, our best Milky Way images look too noisy when printed larger than 12x18 inches because they aren't "tracked and stacked" images.  We want to capture some images of the Milky Way over amazing foregrounds that look great even when printed at 24x36 inches!  We are confident this can be accomplished and have come up with a few methods on how we'll get these shots.


The Methods:

All of these methods will be used at each location, and the best resulting images will be available to you to choose from.

  • Single and multiple long exposures for stacking from a tripod.
  • Long exposures taken from a tracking telescope for stacking.
  • Use of a "barn door" tracker for extended tracking on a regular tripod.
  • Tracking Milky Way shots with their foregrounds shot separately and then recombining the images in post production.


The Locations:

We have many chances to get excellent shots since we will be traveling through these amazing locations:

Mauna Kea - The Big Island of Hawai'i (May):  At 9000 ft., and with a latitude of about 19 degrees north, we are certain this will be the best location to capture the Milky Way.  We also hope to capture some great Hawaiian foregrounds.

Death Valley, California (April):  We will get shots with the amazing foregrounds of Death Valley, including the Badwater Salt Flats, the Playa Racetrack, and sand dunes.

Badwater Salt Flats
Badwater Salt Flats

Burning Man Playa (May):  We will be capturing the Milky Way with the signature background mountains that surround Black Rock City.

Crater Lake, Oregon (June):  We will be capturing the Milky Way with Crater Lake in the foreground.

Crater Lake at sunset
Crater Lake at sunset

Your Contribution:

Our goal of $1000 is to cover the cost of renting a few *really* nice lenses, as well as to help offset the cost of bringing some telescope equipment to Hawaii.  We are going to these places regardless of the fate of this project, so we are not asking you to fund our travel expenses.  We just want to rent some amazing lenses to capture these amazing images, and to give you an opportunity to have one!


Rewards:

The images will be processed after each trip.  The best versions will be made available to you as they come.  A website will be set up where you will be able to select your choice at any time.  We expect to be putting out the first selections in early June, and to have all the selections available by the end of July.  International pledges please contact us for shipping costs.

Past Work:

Mahogany Flats, Death Valley
Mahogany Flats, Death Valley
Black Rock Road, Arizona Strip
Black Rock Road, Arizona Strip
Milky Way over Pinecrest Lake
Milky Way over Pinecrest Lake
Lick Observatory
Lick Observatory
Panoche Pass
Panoche Pass
Pinecrest Lake
Pinecrest Lake
Black Rock Road, Arizona Strip
Black Rock Road, Arizona Strip

More of our work can be found at our website:
symmetrybreaking.com

The Backup Plan:

We have been doing astrophotography long enough to know that bad weather/seeing conditions can happen anytime.  This is the reason why we plan so many days toward the project in several locations that are known for clear skies.  We are very confident we won't need this backup plan, but in the event that we simply cannot get a great, clear shot of the Milky Way that can be printed at 24x36 inches, then we will give you a choice of 1 of the 5 following images as your selection.  These are images of ours that we already know look great at 24x36:

Orion Nebula
Orion Nebula
Andromeda Galaxy
Andromeda Galaxy
Pleiades Star Cluster
Pleiades Star Cluster
Horsehead Nebula
Horsehead Nebula
May 20th, 2012 Annular Solar Eclipse
May 20th, 2012 Annular Solar Eclipse
We support Kicking Forward at least 5% of any profits made back into Kickstarter projects!
We support Kicking Forward at least 5% of any profits made back into Kickstarter projects!

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

We have been doing astrophotography long enough to know that bad weather/seeing conditions can happen anytime. This is the reason why we plan so many days toward the project in locations that are known for clear skies. We are very confident we'll be able to get the shots we want, but in the event that we can't get a solid Milky Way image that looks great printed at sizes up to 24x36 inches, we will let you choose 1 out of 5 of our previous images as your print. See "The Backup Plan" section above to view those 5 images.

FAQ

  • Domestic shipping is included, but international shipping is extra. Please message us your zip code and the reward you are thinking of getting and we will let you know how much extra to include for international shipping. Thanks!

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  • Pledge $10 or more
    You selected

    35 backers

    A postcard of a final Milky Way image.

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $20 or more
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    157 backers

    An 8x12 inch print of a Milky Way image. *Add $15 for mounting on 3/8" gatorboard.

    Estimated delivery:
    Add $5 USD to ship outside the US
  • Pledge $50 or more
    You selected

    42 backers

    A 12x18 inch print of a Milky Way image. *Add $30 to mount on 3/16" gatorboard.

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  • Pledge $60 or more
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    4 backers

    High Quality Vinyl Laptop Skin - Custom sized to fit the outside of Mac or PC laptops for 11", 13", 15", and 17" models. You will be asked what model/size you want when the project is finished. *Please add $5 for 17" skins. ***A laptop skin may be added to any other pledge of $50 or more for an extra $35.

    Estimated delivery:
    Add $10 USD to ship outside the US
  • Pledge $100 or more
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    15 backers

    A 16x24 inch print of a Milky Way image. *Add $50 to mount on 1/2" gatorboard.

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  • Pledge $150 or more
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    11 backers

    A 24x36 inch print of a Milky Way image. *Add $70 to mount on 1/2" gatorboard.

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  • Pledge $180 or more
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    4 backers

    A 16x24 inch canvas print of a Milky Way image.

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  • Pledge $250 or more
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    10 backers

    A 24x36 inch canvas print of a Milky Way image.

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Funding period

- (34 days)