Milky Way at Joshua Tree National Park with the eXtreme and Platyball

Words by Bob Coates
Edited by Eryka Bagwell

I enjoy working with the Platypod gear. As a Platypod Ambassador I get the chance to experiment with new kit and find new ways to use it.


Joshua Tree National Park

Had the opportunity to head to a National Park and enjoy the relatively dark skies while chasing the Milky Way. After scouting the location that I wanted to shoot, I found the Milky Way wouldn’t be in place among the otherworldly rock formations until between 2:45AM and 3:30AM for the composition needed.


I used the new eXtreme base which allowed me to make my camera position exactly where I wanted and deploy it quickly. The large rock would have hindered that placement if I was using a full sized tripod. That’s part of the beauty of the Platypod. You can sneak the camera into position and still have complete control of your camera angle. The Platyball Elite, when locked into position, remains exactly where I want it with NO camera creep.


Milky Way

I used the PhotoPills APP to plan the time and where the Milky Way would appear in the scene. Exposure was made with the Olympus OMD EM-1 Mark III with an M.Zukio 7-14mm f/2.8 lens. Exposure was eight seconds at f/2.8 for the stars at ISO 8000. To get more color and light detail I made the exposure eight times and blended them together with Starry Landscape Stacker. This has the net effect of gathering more starlight as if there was a longer exposure. If you try to get that with a longer exposure alone the stars will start to trail. The foreground was exposed for 40 seconds and processed separately then blended with the sky in Photoshop.

Yours in Creative Photography, Bob

View more of Bob Coates work by visiting his website here and be sure to jump over to our web page to pre-order the Platypod eXtreme and purchase your Platyball Elite