Frequently Asked Questions
Are your images available for purchase?
Absolutely! Please check out our NEW WEBSITE FOR PRINTS. They will be carefully shipped right to your door and they all carry a 30 day money back guarantee. Feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns and thank you for supporting a small business & an artist!
Are your images available for commercial use?
Yes - all commercial uses will incur a licensing fee & contract. Please contact us for commercial license & contract information and for questions involving the use of our images on websites or in publications. Commercial use of our images is allowed only if expressly granted by Mike Taylor & Taylor Photography. Unauthorized use of our copyrighted images is prohibited. The determination of "commercial use" is based on the context in which the image will be used, it is NOT determined by the tax-filing status of the entity using the image or the financial transaction between Taylor Photography and said entity.
What camera gear do you use?
Here is Mike's current gear list:
Nikon D600 & Nikon D7000
Nikon 14-24mm aspherical wide angle lens & Tokina 11-16mm aspherical wide angle lens
Nikon 18-105mm lens - Nikon 70-300mm lens
Induro & Manfrotto tripods & heads
Which processing software/programs do you use?
- Jimmy McIntyre's Raya Pro Panel plug-in for PS
- Star Spikes Pro 3 plug-in for PS
- Nik Collection plug-ins
- Topaz plug-ins including Adjust and DeNoise for PS
- StarStaX for quick stacking of star trails
- PTGui for stitching horizontal & vertical panoramas when manual control points are needed
What were your camera settings for this shot?
You can view the EXIF data for most of the images here on our website by clicking the "i" icon located at the bottom right when viewing individual images - if the EXIF data is missing or confusing (because of multiple image blending), we try to list the separate camera settings for each image in the description.
Mike always tries to include EXIF data when he posts images to social media so that anyone can try to capture the Milky Way, the Northern Lights, etc. using the same or similar camera settings.
I've never seen the Milky Way, are your images real or are they Photoshop fabrications?
These images are real. The camera captures more light, detail, and colors than the human eye can see. If you've never seen the Milky Way with your own eyes we suggest you travel as far as possible away from city lights & light pollution and spend some time looking up in wonder at the features of the night sky. Any kind of light pollution, including moonlight, makes it harder to see the Milky Way. The Milky Way has a relatively low surface brightness but it is visible to the unaided eye as a dim, hazy band of white & grey "clouds" of glowing light that covers roughly 30 degrees of the sky. The Milky Way arcs and moves across the sky every night and through the seasons. As viewed from the Northern Hemisphere, the Southern section of the Milky Way appears the brightest and is generally regarded as the most photogenic section of our galaxy - it includes the bulge of the Galactic Center, the Great Rift, the Dark Horse Nebula, and many other features including the Sagittarius and Scorpius constellations.
Mike spends lots of time planning and scouting locations for his photography projects to find compositions and landscape aspects that he likes. He uses Lightroom and Photoshop to process his photographs and he sometimes creates surreal composite images - but he's always honest about his work and he includes the EXIF data when posting images to social media so that anyone can try to capture the Milky Way, star trails, meteors and/or the Northern Lights using the same or similar camera settings. You can view the EXIF data for most of the images here on our website by clicking the "i" icon located at the bottom right when viewing individual images.
Do you teach night photography and/or post-processing techniques?
Absolutely! Please visit our Workshops page for more information regarding our small group and private 1-on-1 night photography workshops. Mike also teaches advanced night photography skills including time lapse, star trails, panoramas, and exposure blending techniques. Feel free to contact us with any questions or regarding individual post-processing instruction.
What do you do for a living? Is this your full time job?
Yes - Mike left his full time job as a studio photographer in 2012 to start his own business and to turn his passion for photographing the night sky into a career. Teaching others how to capture and process night sky images is definitely the most exciting and rewarding job Mike has ever had. Very few people have invested the time to truly master the art of photographing the night sky. It takes passion, effort, energy and motivation to go beyond the basics of understanding a camera to truly knowing what your camera sensor is capable of capturing in the dark. Getting the most out of your camera gear and being able to calmly troubleshoot during challenging conditions at night is an art form in and of itself, where practical experience and empirical knowledge come only with time and patience. Mike has spent countless hours photographing the night sky in the past few years and he thoroughly enjoys teaching others everything he knows about landscape astrophotography and the processing techniques required to create extraordinary night sky images.
Do you have any tips, tricks or helpful information for someone just starting out in night photography?
Yes - please visit our Press page for links to articles Mike has written and Q&A features about Mike's work - and join in the conversation on our social media platforms where we share lots of information on specific images!
Do you shoot time lapse footage?
Yes - almost every time Mike photographs the night sky, sunsets, sunrises, clouds, etc. he shoots multiple frames to be used as time lapse footage. Our first time lapse compilation short film called Shot In The Dark will be released soon. Check out the teaser trailer here on our website or on Vimeo. Mike has lots of footage from the past year and a half that he is putting together - many of the images on our website are single frames that were part of a time lapse sequence.
Are you available for presentations of your work and/or speaking engagements?
Absolutely! Please visit our Presentations page for more information.
Are you available for contracted photography assignments including time lapse, studio/product, architectural, and website development projects?
Yes - please contact us regarding rates & schedules.
How do you know when the Northern Lights are visible?
Aurora activity depends on solar flares and whether or not they are Earth-directed. There are lots of other factors involved in viewing aurora displays and we recommend following these websites to know when & where the aurora may be visible:
Which software/apps do you use for planning your night sky images?
Stellarium for desktop
The Photographer's Ephemeris for desktop
Clear Dark Sky for desktop
Stellarium for Android devices
Star Chart for Android devices
Lunar Phase for Android devices
Sunrise Sunset for Android devices
Satellite tracking websites: