Shooting Star (Vertorama)
Location: On my farm in the Little Karoo.
Description: Third time lucky!!
Because it is remote and sparsely populated with a very dry climate, the Karoo region of South Africa is ideal for star-gazing and astronomy.
Whenever I spend a weekend on my farm in the Little Karoo, I usually stare up into the starry night sky at some point and wonder just how I’m going to go about photographing it! Of course I didn’t just want to capture some stars in the sky… I also wanted the photograph to include the Milky Way, the Southern Cross, a mountain, an Aloe Ferox (or two), some Acacia thorn trees and even some of the white quartzite pebbles that are scattered all over the place! I’ve made two attempts to capture this scene already… and failed miserably both times!!
This weekend I decided that I simply had to give it another go, so I set up my tripod shortly after sunset and waited for the sky to darken enough so that I could start capturing the ground part of the Vertorama. I used a small LED torch to paint the foreground with light while the shutter was open, and it took several attempts before I was happy with the results. By that stage the sky had darkened enough and the first stars (including the Southern Cross) were clearly visible. So I aimed the camera upwards, set the camera’s mode to Bulb, focused on infinity (that’s where most of the stars are), and started shooting the stars.
Little did I realize that I would end up shooting a shooting star!
Click here to view this one large.
Please note: These stars are not out of focus, the hundred-second exposure has actually captured some of their movement across the night sky!
Equipment: Nikon D300 (Sigma 10-20mm)
Date: July 2008