For people who are getting these milkyway shots, are they visible to the naked eye already? I can't ever make out the milky way by eye and cannot capture any of it, but I know I'm not in the best place (atl, ga + 2 hours away). I'm not sure if I'm doing it wrong or just trying the impossible. Sorry I don't have any examples of what I've got. I can get a bunch of stars, and during the perseids I got an outline if you're imaginative lol. I'm giving it ~20-30 seconds depending, trying with f2.8 - f10 mixed with a little higher iso in some and 100 iso in others, but they all come out unable to see the milkyway.
any comments would be helpful, thanks!
Keep in mind the Milky Way, like the moon, goes in phases as the earth rotates, it (the core) is not visible all night long and is only visible from ~March-late September. If the moon is up you won't see the Milky Way, it's too bright, you might be able to get some images with a faint Milky Way, but it won't be visible at all by eye. Use this website to find dark skies (good luck around ATL), for reference I can barely make out the Milky Way core by eye from a yellow/orange zone even on good nights:
In a green zone it starts becoming more apparent, from a blue zone it's pretty obvious and from a grey or darker zone you can make out clear detail. From the darkest areas of Utah I can walk around at night without a flashlight because the stars/Milky Way is bright enough once my eyes adjust and I can clearly see dust lanes.
For camera settings (depending on your camera and lens) I would start with a 30 second exposure at ISO 1600 and as wide open as your lens will go (f2.8), that should produce an image of of the core that's pretty obvious, but you might have star trails depending on your focal length. From there you can work on dialing in the settings for your particular camera and lens. For more information, this is the single best astrophotography/Milky Way tutorial series (IMO) on the internet: