The Rock Trail

The Rock Trail
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The Rock Trail 2011-2-12 Nightscapes
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For the star trails photographer, clouds are a curse. If you ask those, who venture the wilderness in darkness looking to capture that magical effect of the earth-spin, the first advice you will get is: ‘Oh, for star trails you must have clear skies and a dark night!’. But is that so? Sure, clear night skies and darkest of nights will give you perfect star trails but many times you will find out that something is missing, it is too perfect. What if you had a stronger light pollution to introduce wild and unpredictable colors? And what about a streak of a moonlit cloud dancing with your star trails? This could be the thing! So, when it comes to art, always find an excuse to step off the beaten path. Many times you may regret it but there will be those other times that will make it all worth. This is actually my first medium format star trails image and I'm very happy with the result. It has become one of my most cherished ones. And it was quite a night too! Weather forecasts promised clear skies but as it often happens, it was partly cloudy instead. The clouds were swiftly moving by the strong winds. Despite these conditions, I decided to stay and see what the night was going to offer. I made two attempts before this one. Both of them about 1-hour exposures and in both cases clouds attacked the sky sweeping the already exposed star trails away. But the third attempt was perfect. Winds calmed down and there was a single cloud floating behind the rock mushroom slowly moving away to the right thus creating this lovely motion blur effect. The rest of the sky remained clear during the whole exposure.

A 1-hour exposure on Fujichrome Provia 100F color reversal film. Shot with Mamiya RB67 medium format camera. Rocks and cloud streaks are moonlit. Colors and light is authentic. No post-processing involved. Check out the making-of image too. The rock mushroom is located near the Asara plateau and it has been the main subject in other works of mine - Of Stars And Rocks is one of them. After this one I made another 1-hour exposure of a rock mushroom on top of the plateau - Asara Plateau - Star Trails.