A couple of weeks ago I won two First Prizes in the Travel Photographer of the Year Awards - one for a series of four night shots from Namibia, and one for a timelapse video that was also shot entirely at night in the same country.
This image is basically a still from the video. For the TPOTY version we had to take this scene out though, because the maximum length for entries was only 1 minute.
Namibia is like our second home - we've been going there every year for almost 12 years now, often multiple times. This country is night photography heaven, which is why I love it even more. I was the first photographer to create an extensive night photography portfolio from Namibia in general and from Deadvlei in particular, and many photographers have been wanting to do the same thing ever since. As a result it was getting more and more difficult to create original material on my visits to Namibia, so in 2010 I decided to take it to the next level and make the first timelapse of Namibia, shot entirely at night. I shot all the material for the video on several visits to Namibia in 2011 and 2012 - over 16,000 shots in total. More info can be found on the vimeo page.
For this shot I first determined where the Milky Way was going to be in order to create a composition where the Milky Way would be a diagonal and not cut through the quiver tree. There are some clouds near the horizon that bothered me at first because I was worried that I might cloud over completely and thus ruin the timelapse, but fortunately it didn't. The sequence actually turned out very cool because of those clouds, but the scene didn't make it to this short version of the timelapse because it wasn't shot from the dolly and I wanted those dynamics in there.
If you're interested in joining me on this trip and learn more about night photography and composition, please check out my website for more information:
We were the first company to offer a specialized nature photography tour to Namibia many years ago, and the first to do night photography there, and it has since become our most copied tour. Many other companies now offer similar trips, but dont' let that fool you - none of the workshop leaders has neither the experience nor the artistic accolades that we do. If you seriously want to improve your landscape and night photography, while having a great time with a small group of like-minded enthusiasts - this is the trip for you. All three tours for this year are already fully booked, but you can already reserve a spot for the 2014 trip.