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Night Photography: Follow The Star Trails


Words & Images Jacques Marais

Okay, so I used to like clubbing. Not seals, mind you, more the sort of thing where you hang out inside a dodgy building with a crowded bar, waiting for the fifth Black label to kick in while Taxi Man blares in the background. These days, it’s probably some Bieber or Beyoncé remix, so I’m gladly over that.

Now, when I want to get all psychedelic, I go hang with the stars. Nope, not Hollywood, or Bollywood, but the real thing – preferably somewhere as far from civilisation as one can get. The reason for this is two-fold: (1) I’m tired of seeing people posting their ‘Pokemon Go’ pics, and (2) the further you are away from a town, the less light pollution there is. Just in case I’ve lost you there… the less light there is leaking into the sky, the better your photos of the night sky will turn out. And, as I seem to have come down with a serious case of SSS (Star-Struck Syndrome), I’ve been spending much of the last couple of years messing about with cameras in the dark.

The good news is that there’s a straightforward cure for SSS. All you need to do is to fire up your 4×4 and trip into the back of beyond, preferably as far off the beaten track as possible. Then you set up your equipment, crack open a beer, and wait for that celestial show to unfold in the firmaments above.

And the bad news? That equipment I mentioned can be pretty expensive, especially with our rand going into free-fall. Fortunately, local travel is still relatively affordable, and more so when you head into the bundu, far away from towns and electricity and cell-phone signal. If you’re keen, here are a few places to go, and some photos to grab….