Friday, August 19, 2011

An Unexpected Starry,Starry Night...

June 15, 2011- a night I will remember for the rest of my life! 
We were in Namibia, driving from the Marienfluss in the Hartman Valley to Serra Cafema - a full day of 4WD rugged roads up and down mountain ranges in the literally in the middle of nowhere…

The plan was to camp near Serra Cafema for 2 nights.  We arrived to Serra Cafema late in the day as the sun was setting.  Luckily we found what turned out to be a charming spot for wild camping at the base of a large hill on a large expanse of flat sand surrounded by grasses. (‘Charming’, that is, except for the scorpions later discovered by the camp fire!!!)
From our pre-trip research, we knew tonight would be a full moon and we were delighted to have the hill as our foreground element and clear skies to capture it in all its glory.
Tents were set up and dinner was being prepared while we set up our tripods to photograph the moon rising over the hill.  As the moon began to make its appearance, we photographed it, practicing everything we knew about capturing the night time orb at its finest.  While photographing, we were distracted for a few moments by the discovery of a large scorpion by the camp fire!  The discovery of this unexpected and unwanted creature, caused a stir of excitement in the campsite which lasted a few minutes while it was captured and deposited into the surrounding grasses.  We then went back to photographing our moon.  Looking up, I said, “Guys? What’s happening to the moon?”  It looked like it was getting smaller and was a slightly odd shape.  As time continued to pass, we realized we were in for a treat: We were experiencing a lunar eclipse! 
Dinner was then ready and we sat down to eat, but we photographers had our eyes on the sky.  The moon continued to disappear and the stars were getting brighter!  We inhaled our dessert and went back to photographing this unexpected and amazing phenomenon.  It progressed to be not simply a lunar eclipse, but a TOTAL one at that!!!  With the moon obliterated by the shadow of the earth, and no light pollution, except for our glowing red headlamps, we were treated to a most amazing sight: millions of stars and the Milky Way as I have never seen it!
We photographed as quickly as we could before the shadow of the earth slowly slipped by the moon.  Once gone, the moon shone brightly, illuminating the landscape as if it were daytime. Some of the stars dimmed and others disappeared.  Sadly, the show was over but we felt very special to have witnessed it, as if Mother Nature put it on just for us!

The peak of whole event lasted a very short time, but the  incredible experience will last in my memory forever…

2 comments:

  1. It definitely was amazing! I have never seen a sky like that...I always get goosebumps when I tell this experience to people.

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