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Night photography demands a feasible location to shoot if you want an extraordinary outcome.

I went to Spiti to do Astrophotography and Nature shots. Moreover, I read that the Perseid Meteor Shower would peak on 12th Aug 2023. Hence, I was aiming that night to photograph the dark sky. In addition, the moon would be only 15.9% visible, so that would be a classic night to perform the task.

Accordingly, I had to reach Spiti by the 11th, meaning I had to leave Delhi on the 9th to arrive there on time.

I proceeded as planned and reached Kaza on time.

How do you go from Kaza to Rangrik?

The most suitable choice is renting a two-wheeler for a budget trip to Spiti.

Rangrik Village is present 7km away from the main town Kaza. So, you can effortlessly reach Rangrik within 15-20 minutes.

What are the Road Conditions from Kaza to Rangrik Village Route?

Road to Rangrik

When entering Kaza from the Manali side, Rangrik would fall first and vice-versa from the Shimla side. Ultimately, I have experienced both Spiti Valley routes, and they have their magnificence.

The road conditions are excellent between Kaza and Rangrik, and you can drive straightforwardly to your destination. There would even be a wooden bridge you are required to cross on the way.

Could you see the Milky Way and Stars clearly from Rangrik?

Undoubtedly, you can spot the Stars and Milky Way from Rangrik. You can even spot stars from Kaza; however, due to the numerous artificial lights in the town, it would be perfect to see them from a dark location.

Eventually, you won’t have to reach the main Rangrik village, but the vast surroundings will give you perfect scene settings much earlier.

Night Stay

Since you plan to see the Stars and the Milky Way, you may also plan to do Astrophotography, which requires you to stay outdoors late at night. So, finding a place to stay for a night would be best.

I had similar concerns running through my mind; I was staying at Zostel Spiti, and for once, I thought I could return at night. But I was unsure about the night circumstances there, so I wanted to avoid taking any risks.

After research, I found that the Spiti Astro camp was happening at Rangrik, so I connected with them and enquired if staying with them for a night was possible. They would also be engaged in Astrophotography. So, I would get companions and a place to stay. Hence, they said you could visit for a night with us at Spiti Expeditions.

Ideally, you can enquire with Spiti expeditions, as they also conduct tours in Spiti Valley.

What would be an Optimal time to Reach the Location for Astro?

Undoubtedly, the activity would take place at night. So, you must see your location in the daytime and set your composition and framing.

Appropriately, I left for Rangrik late afternoon and went out with the accompaniers to scout the location.

Hence, after looking around, I got the location and composition, and now the wait was for the correct time.

How do you spot the Milky Way in the sky?

I have divided that into different ways.

The first method would be:

  1. Looking thoroughly at the sky, you will spot a cluster of stars in a line. In a location like Spiti, you could spot the Milky Way from the naked eye.

The second method would be:

  1. You can use the Stellarium App—when you open it, point it upwards, and move the phone gently while pointing in the sky, it will let you know where the Milky Way is. 
  2. Similarly, using that App, you can spot the Pole Star and shoot Star Trails.

Note: You can only see the Milky Way from your eyes when you’re present in a dark and pollution-free location.

What are the Best Possible settings for Astrophotography?

The optimal settings depend upon what you’re shooting. Let’s see some of the shots you could do:

  • Milky Way

Milky Way is a single shot long exposure image; however, if you want to do any creative aspect, you can do multiple shots of the Milky Way.

The most suitable settings for Shooting the Milky Way would be starting from 3-4sec shutter speed with the Aperture wide open, the widest your lens has, and an ISO around 500-640. And then adjust according to the outcome you want. Importantly, focus manually.

  • Star Trails

Shooting Star Trails requires numerous long-exposure images. It requires almost 250-300 images; you can even go longer. 

Notably, your camera must have an interval timer to click photos regularly without touching and moving the camera.

You can begin with the shooting settings: 10-sec Shutter, wider Aperture like f/2.0 – f/2.8, and ISO – 640-800. You can increase the Shutter depending on how long you need the Star Trail. Importantly, focus manually.

My Experience doing the Astrophotography in Spiti

My Experience shooting the Milky Way and Star Trail in Spiti was fantastic.

For Milky Way

Firstly, I commenced with the Milky Way because, after a specific period, the visible Milky Way would begin to diminish. Therefore, I favored to shoot that.

I liked the house’s geometry for composition, so I used that house as a foreground for the Milky Way shot. However, the inside light of the house overpowered the scene. So, I got the idea and said to switch off the lights. Then the accompanier put up the low-power red light outside the house.

After trial and error, I got the correct settings and was satisfied with the outcome.

Astrophotography in Spiti Rangrik

An exciting instance occurred when the camera was recording the long exposure photograph of the Milky Way; a giant Meteor was captured in the frame. However, after reviewing the image, I realized it went out of focus!—still, that was an exquisite capture.

Milky Way and Perseid Meteor Shower

Besides, I can’t comment on the most promising month for Starzaing in Spiti. I stayed there for 20 days in August, so I only witnessed 1 month there. According to what people living there have to say, May to September sounded the best.

Then, the next turn was for Star Trails.

For Star Trails 

While performing Star Trails, the possibility of capturing Meteor was more. Because, for Star Trails, I have to keep the Shutter long open for multiple shots for hours.

I figured out the Pole Star in the sky using the Sterallium App; ultimately, all the stars circle, and the Pole Star doesn’t move. I wanted the complete circle in the composition with a tent in the foreground.

There was house construction happening nearby during the day, so workers were sleeping inside the tent. I prayed that nobody inside the tent would get up and leave at night. That would spoil the shot to an extent. In addition, a street light that was present a little far away gave a gentle touch to the side of the tent.

Star Trails with Meteor Shower Shot at Spiti Rangrik by Vansh Tiwari

I remember keeping the camera on from around 11:30 p.m. until 3 a.m. At the same time, the accompanying photographer and I gazed at the sky and admired the Perseid Meteor Shower through our eyes. Indeed, that was a mesmerizing night; I had never witnessed that before!

Perseid Meteor Shower Shot by Vansh Tiwari

In between, I exchanged the camera battery while the shots were ongoing as the battery dried up.

It was getting chillier as the hours passed. I was already wearing a jacket but still feeling the cold.

Moreover, my eyes weren’t tired because that night was precious; I thought I might or might not witness that magical night again!

When the clock touched 3 a.m., I decided it was for the night; I went down to collect my camera and tripod and slept in the room.


To process Star Trails, you are required to download Star Stax software. Put all your images in, and then it will perform its task and provide you with the outcome.

I felt proud and was delighted with the outcome.


Rangrik is the best spot for astrophotography in Spiti; plus, you can do that without traveling far. But, still, if you want to check other promising locations for Astro, you can visit more elevated altitudes like Langza and Komic.

About Author

Vansh Tiwari is a passionate traveler who explores every corner. Then, he presents his vision in images and writing. Further, he loves long walks along the roadside!

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