Starry Nights

Trip Start Aug 22, 2012
Trip End Jun 16, 2013

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Flag of Namibia  ,
Monday, April 1, 2013

Radiant. Infinite. Vast.

And as Van Morrison says:
Let go into the mystery
Let yourself go
You've got to open up your heart
That's all I know.

We have never seen stars like this!

We are in Waterberg Plateau National Park, a brick-red sandstone table mountain range that seems to go on forever and is surrounded by Nambian savannah. After driving north from Windhoek, we arrived here to an almost empty park. Our group ventured a steep climb up to the plateau before settling in to dinner and star-gazing.

Our star-gazing continued throughout Namibia. Each night, because of the amazingly clear weather we encountered, we were able to watch the stars from our sleeping bags as they sparkled into our tent. I would often awaken at night and instead of just turning over, I'd catch a few moments of star-shine; middle of the night awe and wonder!

Jim's techy notes on startrails:
I've wanted to do a startrail for quite some time. Seems to me the two essential conditions that are a challenge to find in Nova Scotia (and probably most of Canada) are:
a) a full night with a gazillion stars; and
b) no moisture to condense on the lens.

The Namibian desert was perfect for this so I made two attempts. The only worries about leaving the camera chi-chunking away all night were thieves and the numerous mischievous jackals that roamed campsites. Had to stay up late to discourage both.

There are a number of ways to take startrail photos. The one that made most sense to me under the conditions were to take 1 photo every minute for several hours (7 hrs in the first case and 4 in the second) and then use specialized software to compile them into a single image. Some nice touches if you can orchestrate them include orienting the camera to get the stars rotating around the north star, finding something interesting for the foreground to add interest/perspective and anticipating/avoiding possible sources of light contamination.

I'm pretty pleased with both as initial efforts. I especially like the color the crept into the first as the sun began to rise. Looking forward to future attempts.

I am also including a couple of single frames. Even these don't capture the magnificence of the star-filled skies.

Many thanks to my photo-compadre Nir Avneyon for his patient instruction and coaching on shooting startrails.
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Sue Walker on

How amazing is this WOW, to capture such beauty. Jim your photography is so creative and Donna your writing ads to an extremely creative couple!
Love you guys

Sue xo

Don Herald on is what I propose to you both. Donna...don't return to QE2; Jim don't return to Dal U. Let's start an indie type fundraising project on-line to keep you two on the road for another year! The rock bands raise money this way. Why can't we do the same? I soo enjoy the photos and comments that I really don't want them to end any time soon. And besides, where will I get those cool pictures I use sometimes on my own Facebook page? Love your travels! don

char on

Whoa Horsies! Re: Video -what travels that fast I wondered? Look forward to the story telling on the deck watching the next autumn Perseid meteor show. The snow is almost gone. LOVE

Joanne Sembinelli on

Has been amazing following you guys. Donna your travel blogs along with
pictures have been the highlight of my not so travelled life. Living your adventures thru photos blogs etc. have inspired me to take a look at my life.
Better hurry up and experience before too late!!! Very creative and artistic the
way u memoired your journey. Enjoy the remaining weeks!!!

Ruth-Ann on

So incredible! You two must have amazing IQ and EQ! In the photos in which you appear, you are so joyous and free. Once again, thanks for allowing me along on this incredible journey!

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