Live with Ian Norman

PODCAST 86: Ian Norman | Mt. Whitney Milky Way Photography & LIVE Q&A with the Facebook Page Followers!

Photog Adventures Podcast

for our Todays topics –

LIVE with Ian Norman of Lonely Speck!! Ian is one of our ABSOLUTE FAVORITE Milky Way Master Gurus and the creator of and many popular YouTube tutorials helping us all be better in our Milky Way Photography! In this episode we start with talking about Ian’s hike up Mt. Whitney and doing Milky Way Photography on his way back down. We then move on to our LIVE listener Q&A where he tackles photography technique and processing questions from those participating in the LIVE Q&A.

Today’s Guest –

Learn more Milky Way Photography tips over at!
Ian’s Lonely Speck YouTube channel
Follow Ian and his wife Diana’s adventures at
and over on their Instagram @northtosouthtravel.

Live with Ian Norman

If you aren’t following the Photog Adventures Facebook Page (PAGE not the Group) then you might have missed out on the opportunity of hanging with Ian Norman live. See the original LIVE FEED here:

NOTE: Be prepared for long, unedited portions of the hangout with Ian during the live Q&A. Segments Two and Three are better enjoyed watching the live feed off our Facebook Page but I included them here in case you prefer that. I apologize in advance for what turns out to be my worst “one more thing then lets end the podcast” ever. As I say it about three times and the podcast extends another 30-45 minutes!

Ian tells us about his amazing adventure with his wife Diana as they hiked up California’s highest peak, Mt. Whitney. It’s the tallest mountain the lower 48 states of the USA, at 14,494 feet above sea level. Ian tells us about the gear they brought with them, and how they hiked back down the 97 switchback, 10.7 mile trail in the dark. It took longer than they planned, but it gave them the opportunity to shoot the Milky Way with Diana’s Sony a7III. They even caught some green air glow!

Milky Way Q&A with Ian

Ian answers our technical questions in a live-feed, listener question segment. He discusses his experience using star trackers and how cool the Pentax K-1 Mk II is, and especially its Astrotracer feature. Ian is going to have a video review of it on his YouTube channel in the near future. He then talks about doing “giga-pano” type shots. Next Ian talks about his preference for reducing noise – he doesn’t! He likes the look and doesn’t worry about it. For things like hot pixels, he uses Photoshop’s Dust and Scratches function with masking to make sure it doesn’t go too far. Also, he tells us about taking multiple Dark Frames at the end of the evening to remove sensor bloom. Next, he answers a question about using Starry Landscape Stacker with Lightroom. Finally he talks about using in-camera noise reduction.

Extended Gear Time

Then for Segment Three we do an extended Gear Time where Ian talks Sony Camera bodies and gets everyone thinking about changing over to the Sony Sensor! He goes through all the models of the Sony a7 series – a7 “S” series, the “R” series, and the “plain” series. They are all still being manufactured. He tells us about bringing his first a7s and how it did not survive the dust of going to Burning Man. It was loaded with dust and he basically ruined it… For Milky Way, especially the latest generation, he says they are all excellent. And he tell us of ways to get around the dreaded “Star Eater” issue. (Let the stars trail, even just a little bit…)

Ian tells us about his current favorite focal lengths for astro. He has two – the Sony 55mm F1.8 Sonnar T FE ZA Full Frame Lens and the Zeiss Batis 2.8/18 Wide-Angle Lens. That’s it! He uses the 55mm for stitching images and the Zeiss Batis for a regular wide-angle lens. And then he tells us which camera and lens he’d grab if his house was on fire. He talks about his tripods and how light-weight is an important factor for him. He tells us his thoughts about his old Sirui and his new Oben CT-3535, and also mentioned Three-Legged Thing tripods. Ultimately, he’s a big fan of travel tripods.

He closes talking about going to the Out of Moab conference later this year, and then gives some advice about setting up a part-time business doing photography workshops and his experience with them, and how he does his panos.

And his final, last closing word for our Live with Ian Norman – find somewhere dark, and somewhere different to learn more about shooting astro.

Related Episodes:

Check out our first interview with Ian: PODCAST: Light Pollution, 50mm Astro & Milky Way Timelapses w/ Ian Norman of | Ep 22

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Items Discussed in this Podcast

The following are Amazon Affiliate links. Clicking on and buying these items helps us produce this show.

Sony Alpha a7S Mirrorless Digital Camera –
Sony a7 III Full-frame Mirrorless Interchangeable-Lens Camera (ILCE7M3K/B) –
Voigtlander Color-Skopar Pan 35mm f/2.5 Wide Angle Manual Focus Lens –
Zeiss Batis 2.8/18 Wide-Angle Lens for E-Mount –
Pentax K-1 Mark II 36MP Weather Resistant DSLR –
Pentax D FA F2.8ED SDM WR 15-30mm f/2.8 Ultra-Wide Angle Zoom Lens for Pentax K –
Sony a7R III 42.4MP Full-frame Mirrorless Interchangeable-Lens Camera –
Sony 55mm F1.8 Sonnar T FE ZA Full Frame Prime Lens –
Oben CT-3535 Folding Carbon Fiber Travel Tripod with BE-208T Ball Head –

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