I took this shot of the Milky Way on my honeymoon with my wife in the Maldives. One of the first things that I noticed at night was the clarity of the stars in the sky. I used darksitefinder.com and realized that there was basically zero light pollution in this area. Lower light pollution means the Milky Way was way easier to see without a camera. Additionally, this also meant way better photos. Maldives was not only beautiful during the day, but equally beautiful at night for this reason. You can see another shot I took from a different perspective of this location during sunrise here.
During editing, I knew I wanted to do a before and after for this shot because I figured it would be hard to believe it was real. However, the sky is 100% real, I just enhanced and adjusted the colors and lighting to make everything more clear. Additionally, the before picture is pretty close to what I could actually see with my eyes without a camera. I have never been anywhere in America that I remember where the Milky Way was this clear. Granted, I’m sure there are places, I just haven’t visited them.
I took this shot with multiple bracketed exposures and almost 30 shots that I combined to reduce the overall noise in the picture. After I combined all the pictures, I adjusted the color and lighting in Lightroom and did some final touches in Photoshop. Honestly, I prefer Lightroom for RAW color adjustment over Photoshop just out of personal preference. But both work equally well. Anyway, hope you like the results!