#3. "RE: Nikon D800 in the British Virgin Islands" In response to In response to 2
Thanks for the comments. The milky way shot wasn't all that complicated - I pointed the camera upwards and shot at f/1.4, 8 seconds, 1600 ISO (with the 24mm f/1.4G lens). Technically, that should be quite similar to your settings at f/2.8 at 30s, 1600 ISO. I stabilized on a gorillapod that I brought in my backpack.
The real key to shooting a nice milky way is location and timing. Find a clear and dark sky away from city lights. This shot is looking at the galactic center, where it's brightest - it helps if you know a few constellations (I use Scorpius). I'm not sure where you live, but the galactic center of the milky way becomes more visible the further South you go. In the Northern Hemisphere, you can only ever see about half the Milky Way. I like to play with this online star tool http://www.astroviewer.com/ to find out what the night sky might look like.
Focus is tough, but I find contrast-detection on distant lights works. I added a bit of post processing, but the image is pretty much out of the camera.