View Full Version : Death and Stars

Morkel Erasmus
10-19-2013, 02:15 PM
During my visit to a game reserve earlier this year I got to play with some starscapes - we slept on a structure next to a remote research waterhole. It was tricky setting up for this - it was at least 15m away from our shelter and as you would make an exposure you'd be surprised by a rhino or elephant walking by within a 10m radius without making a sound...not to mention the lions that were in the vicinity daily...:eek3:

Nikon D800
Nikkor 14-24mm f2.8 @ 15mm
f2.8 | 30 seconds | ISO-3200
I shoot these on Fluorescent WB as I prefer the colours it captures in the sky...:e3

shane shacaluga
10-19-2013, 02:55 PM
I really like this one!

I am completely clueless about doing these types of shots. Did you light the foreground with a lamp?

Need to try this one day!

Cheryl Slechta
10-19-2013, 04:35 PM
Morkel, I really like the colors in the stars and the oblique angle of the clouds(?). The bones add a feeling of drama to an already dramatic image and I like the way they are lined up with the faint glow on the horizon. Must have been quite an experience:S3:

Roger Clark
10-20-2013, 08:52 AM
Hi Morkel,

Very nicely done, regarding foreground, and maintaining star colors (not saturating them), and the "modern" color view of the night sky, though as you know I am not a fan of this color balance. The Milky Way, for example is not purple and there are no green stars that I know of (green is seen in what are called planetary nebulae). Did you try a daylight color balance? Nice composition with the angled Milky Way, the foreground bones and the faint city lights peaking over the mountains.

Edit: I checked your image more closely, and you do not have any green stars, it is a perception thing with the light blue and the purple. I see that effect in some of my night images too.

After a leopard incident with a member of my group last February doing night photography in the Serengeti, I won't go out again on the Serengeti for night sky photography without an armed guard. And it was just outside the cabin. Here in the US, I keep bear spray at my side.


Hazel Grant
10-20-2013, 09:40 AM
Roger, I am wondering if what you saw as green and defined as the mixture of blue and purple might also be caused by the 30 second timing. The movement of the stars, I think, would cause just enough blur to do this. Not a criticism really, just a comment. Actually when I first saw this and saw the 30 second timing, I wondered how you got those stars so sharp, Morkel. Did you light the foreground? I like the angular movement of the star cluster--adds interest.

Anette Mossbacher
10-20-2013, 04:07 PM
Hi Morkel,

love this image very much. very well done. Will try that out in 2 weeks time at the famous Swiss mountain Eiger. Hope the clouds have mercy with us!
I also had an encounter in the "Meerkat valley", Makgadikgadi Pan with huge eles. Was not that pleasant to encounter them. Grabing the tripod, pic was not finished, walking slowly back. I had to go only 10m, but still they went our way! They for sure would have flatten my camera :Whoa!: ouch!

Have a great evening


Andrew McLachlan
10-20-2013, 07:18 PM
Hi Morkel, I quite like this. You have the perfect balance of ground versus the sky and the bones take it up a notch. Very nice work!

10-22-2013, 06:17 AM
This is just amazing Morkel. Love it much much. I'm used to astronomy photography as that's what my Dad did for years.

You've added in the Earth with the bones which takes it over the top for me.

Nothing I don't like. This platform sounds interesting and certainly hope you were up off the ground a bit??? Or did those bones belong to the previous photographer??

Morkel Erasmus
10-28-2013, 05:43 PM
Thanks for the kind comments and suggestions, folks.
I was taking every precaution against the wildlife around, but it was humbling to be so vulnerable in any case! :Whoa!:

11-01-2013, 01:47 AM
This is one of the best star images I have seen, Morkel.
Just starting to do star stuff, you have the FG very sharp, I am struggling with that.
Just a cool FG and a great natural look BG sky.

Morkel Erasmus
11-01-2013, 06:17 AM
Thanks Dan. You need to try and focus a few meters away, typically at your lens' hyperfocal distance. If your FG interest is too close you will have too shallow DOF. You'll be amazed how deep your focus can be even at f2.8 when at a wide angle like 14mm.

Shane - missed your question! I use light painting and bounce an LED Lenser torch off my hand to soften it up and add a warmer tone to it.

shane shacaluga
11-01-2013, 06:23 AM
Thanks for the info ;)