Friday, 5 April 2013

How to find and shoot the Milky Way in Malaysia

I have always been asked this question a lot from time to time. Seriously, it took me quite a while to research and learn from the masters (sometimes paying a small fee) on how to snap the mysterious Milky Way from where I stay (Malaysia) without having to travel to overseas destinations such as Bali, New Zealand or Australia.

Basically it boils down to a few things to ensure a successful shooting environment
  1. To find a date and time where the moon is not visible in the night sky.
    • You can easily find the date by searching for a moon rise and set time on the Internet. Locate a date where the moon has either set below the horizon before your time of shooting or is a new moon night where there is practically no moon at all.
    • I frequently use this website to check for dates of the new new moon day for each month.
    • Plus or minus 4 days from the date of a new moon date is the recommended dates to shoot.
  2. Weather conditions must be good.
    • Always check Accuweather to ensure good weather conditions when shooting but do not depend on it for the final decision.
    • For example, last 2 weeks, a group of us went to Cameron Highlands with Accuweather predicting heavy cloud covers and thunderstorms. Indeed when we reached there, there was a heavy cloud cover until 2:30am in the morning. But by 3am the cloud started to clear and we managed to snap quite a few beautiful shots that day all the way until 6am in the morning.
  3. The densest part of the Milky Way is above the horizon at the time of shooting.
    • Most of the photographers snaps Milky Way with the densest part of it with the constellations Scorpious and Sagittarius in the shot. The Milky Way is the brightest and dense at this portion. 
    • You can determine it's location in advance using a software called Stellarium which is freely downloaded from the Internet.
Half an hour before we shot this, the whole sky was covered with thick clouds with lightning all around us.
To keep a long story short, I've compiled a PDF document for your reading pleasure. How To Shoot The Milky Way

Should you have any questions just contact me directly via my email or drop a comment below. 


  1. Hi there Alex Lim. I have a question for you. I am using a Nikon D3100. I have an 18-55 MM prime lens, and a Fish Eye at 10.5 MM. Will these do to do my Milky Way shot?

    1. 18-55mm is not prime lens maa .... btw , kit lens 18-55mm surely can shot these Milky Way ! ^_^

  2. Which fish eye lens good for Olympus micro 4/3 camera?

  3. What's the best location to do this? Areas within Malaysia?

    1. There's a list of places in the PDF attached in the article

  4. Hai sir
    Pada tahun ini (2016) bilakah milky way akan kelihatan?
    Thank you

  5. you tell me the date when the milky way can be seen at johor bahru?please help me....

  6. you tell me the date when the milky way can be seen at johor bahru?please help me....

    1. in summer time....june is a good month

  7. Hello! I just would like to give a huge thumbs up for the great info you have here on this post.
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