View Full Version : Kgalagadi Starscape 1

Morkel Erasmus
07-13-2010, 02:53 PM
Another one of my attempts to capture the glory of the milky way as it's seen in the clear, dark skies of the Kalahari desert.

This was taken in the Rooiputs camp in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park on the Botswana side. Since there were no fences and the lions had walked through our camp the previous night, I could not dare venture too far from our camping spot...hence the road is a necessary evil. :)

The slight light pollution is from the main camp and gate of the Park which is about 30km away from this camp.

Canon 7D with 10-22mm USM @ 10mm
f3.5 @ 30s @ ISO-2500
Bounced LED torch from my hand to paint the tree with soft, warm light

Bob Miller
07-13-2010, 03:34 PM
Hi Morkel! i like the shot very much...the Milky Way really stands out nicely...i do not mind the road. Sorry i can't say more but as i have never done this I feel others can be of more help with critique than I.

Dave Mills
07-13-2010, 03:46 PM
Hi Morkel, Nice exposure with a good view of the MW. The comp looks a bit off to my eye and I would crop some off the right making the tree an anchor. I would of had a bit more on the bottom which would have given you more of a base and extended the road in the FG. I would also eliminate the bright rock at the base of the tree.

Hilary Hann
07-13-2010, 09:06 PM
Morkel, surprised that a few lions would keep you from the perfect composition! :p

I would also have positioned the tree to the right so that the brightest part of the milky way arched over to the left from the rhs rather than the middle. Yes, I'd tone down the rock at the base of the tree, did you use your light on it? Perhaps you could have painted light on the tree and not the rock, assuming you were close enough. I know that there are various techniques for painting these night scenes with light so not sure if you are the leaping around in the dark kind of photographer, or the shining a light from the edge kind of guy makes a difference to how you can light or reduce light on various objects.

Anyway, the road is no problem to me and I like the effect you have achieved. Look forward to more.

Roman Kurywczak
07-14-2010, 08:58 AM
Hey Morkel,
Interesting points above....yep... tone down the rock....a bit too difficult to control the painting that much....especially confined to a vehicle! I agree with the position suggestions but will give you one more.....say this was your test shot......positioning the vehicle a bit right and going vert......would have given you a very strong MW line and positioned the tree just under it. Yes, it is touch to walk away from all those stars.....but if you look on the left....they get a bit uninteresting....and that introduced the road.....repositioning and recomposing.....would have eliminated most of it! Noise looks pretty good....although a bit of red CC along horizon may be in order. As is....use a levels or brigtness layer to darken the road area.....all the way to tree trunk and rock,,,so it more closely matches the RH painting. Glad to see you exploring these night images...you are doing very well with them!

Morkel Erasmus
07-14-2010, 09:47 AM
thanks a lot for the comments guys...will try and tone down that rock. I wish I had composed with the tree more to the right but I think at the time I wanted to include the road.

maybe I wasn't clear...I WAS ON FOOT :) :p:cool: thus the reason for my anxiety in composing hehe

Roman Kurywczak
07-14-2010, 12:02 PM
You do know that you can't outrun them right:D!!! I know the feeling all to well myself.....so understand you not looking for other angles! When I went to recompose my serengheti tent shot.....I shined my headlamp into the bush.....6 eyes ducked!!!.....din't wait to find out what it was;)! Somehow at that moment....canvas wasn't that re-assuring!

Ed Cordes
07-14-2010, 09:58 PM
This is a really well done image under the circumstances of duress you faced. As a dedicated nature photographer I am surprised you let a few night time hunting lions affect your creative efforts;)

Roger Clark
07-14-2010, 10:29 PM
Hi Morkel,
I like the fact that you got the Coalsack and both Magellanic Clouds! It would be cool to have the Milky Way to the left of the tree and have the road go towards the Milky way, but I understand about the lions. I faced similar situations in the Serengeti. Nice image!


Dave Mills
07-14-2010, 11:15 PM
Hey Morkel, Whenever I'm with friends and it could get dangerous due to wildlife most are happy to be with me...Probably since they can outrun me...

Morkel Erasmus
07-16-2010, 06:54 AM
thanks for the comments Dave, Roger, Ed & Roman :)

we also sleeped in very thin tents on the ground...not very reassuring but somehow the predators don't make the connection with prey unless you poke a limb out of the tent flap :)