Awe-Inspiring Family Portrait Features the Milky Way as the Backdrop

The next time you’re out in a non-light polluted place with your family and your camera, try using our galaxy as a backdrop. Hawaii-based photographer John Hook shot this ridiculously awesome photograph of him, his wife, and his daughter staring up at the Milky Way. As if that weren’t perfect enough, there’s also a shooting star photobombing the portrait in the lower right hand corner!

The photo was captured on the road to the Mauna Kea observatory on the Big Island of Hawaii, about one mile from the observatory’s visitor center.

Hook placed his Nikon D3 and 24-70mm lens (set at 24mm) down on the dirt road and aimed it up at the stars. His settings: ISO 1600, f/2.8, and a 30-second exposure time.

After focusing on the stars, setting the self-timer, and pushing the shutter release, his family hurried into the frame, held hands, and made their best effort to stand perfectly still for the duration of the 30 second exposure.

This magical photograph is what resulted.

Image credit: My family self-portrait by John Hook and used with permission

  • Chris

    That’s more likely to be a plane than a shooting star.

  • Brad

    Shooting stars move very quickly. This is a 30 second exposure. It’s more likely a plane, but I like thinking it’s a shoot star.

  • Matt

    More likely than a plane, it’s a satellite. Planes move faster than that, and their lights change colors along their path.

  • Michael Zhang

    But brightness also plays a role, right?

    This other photo by Hook shows a shooting star in the Perseid meteor shower (it has a 90+ second exposure time):

  • teddyblood

    why don’t he spend another 30sec to shoot a perfect one without a shooting star?

  • Tanja Schulte

    well if the shooting star appears in the last 1 or 4 seconds of the 30 second exposure it will not leave a long trail…. ;)

    and it will be visible when it´s bright enough.

    im not saying it is a shooting star…