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Circling the Dead | by Marsel van Oosten
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Circling the Dead

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There is only one photograph that I know of that features Deadvlei with star trails, and it was shot by Art Wolfe many years ago. I'm in Namibia every year, so on this year's Namibia workshop, I thought I'd give it a try myself.


Wolfe's shot is a double exposure on slide film; one for the overall scene when there was still sunlight (polarizer and grads to darken the sky), the second for the star trails.

For my shot I did something similar, but there are also some differences. For my first exposure I waited until the sun had set and the sky was already quite dark, so no need of any filters - the foreground was lighter than the sky anyway. The 30 second exposure was enough to pick up some glow on the dunes in the background. I then set the timer to start taking 4 minute exposures when the moon had set as well.


The next morning the battery of the D3 had managed to last 47 4-minute exposures, a total of 188 minutes and more than enough for some decent trails. Back home I stacked the star trail shots on top of the base layer and got this result.


Check out my website if you would like to join me on one of our photo tours and workshops

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Taken on December 15, 2009