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How do people get photos of the night sky in Deadvlei?

Pune, India
Level Contributor
132 posts
29 reviews
How do people get photos of the night sky in Deadvlei?

I notice a lot of images recently like this:

https://www.instagram.com/p/BqU2CnDgL8L

They are fantastic of course. I'm curious, how do you get to stay back at Deadvlei after dark?

Sumeet

36 replies to this topic
Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
1,352 posts
9 reviews
1. Re: How do people get photos of the night sky in Deadvlei?

I suspect some high end luxury lodges like the Wilderness Safari ones have special access.

Isle of Man, United...
Level Contributor
40,063 posts
452 reviews
2. Re: How do people get photos of the night sky in Deadvlei?

They use Photoshop to superimpose one skyscape over the landscape.

tvj
Jerusalem, Israel
Level Contributor
553 posts
39 reviews
3. Re: How do people get photos of the night sky in Deadvlei?

You need a special permit, which is not easy to get....

Slovenia
Destination Expert
for Costa Rica
Level Contributor
20,034 posts
62 reviews
4. Re: How do people get photos of the night sky in Deadvlei?

To me that one is a photoshoped; been to Namibia and Milky Way was never positioned in this way. Plus, there is no way the sand dunes would be that bright and the Milky Way that clear and colorful. Just don't add up to me as a real photo. But then, I might be wrong.

As for staying in the Deadvlei over the night a special permit must be obtained. How and how much it cost I have no clue.

Isle of Man, United...
Level Contributor
40,063 posts
452 reviews
5. Re: How do people get photos of the night sky in Deadvlei?

< But then, I might be wrong.> I don't think so.

They say the camera cannot lie and they may well be right BUT they keep silent on the post processor.

Pune, India
Level Contributor
132 posts
29 reviews
6. Re: How do people get photos of the night sky in Deadvlei?

I'm not a 100 percent sure that the image is photoshopped. It's a panorama and the even foreground lighting is obviously very suspicious, but it's not an impossible shot to make if there's access. The photographer in question is a very good nightscape photographer and a highly awarded one too. See below:

https://www.stefanliebermann.de/Nightscape/

https://www.stefanliebermann.de/References

There are other, less impressive shots as well:

https://www.instagram.com/p/BqU-0oiAd-f/

So would anyone know how we get that permission?

Sumeet

Slovenia
Destination Expert
for Costa Rica
Level Contributor
20,034 posts
62 reviews
7. Re: How do people get photos of the night sky in Deadvlei?

For the permission you will need to ask at NWR office: https://nwr.com.na/ .

As for nightscape photographs showed by Stefan, I have been to all three locations. At least those are all composite photos; different speeds for foreground, background and Milky Way. You now the rule to avoid star trails?! For sure. And to get anything else with such light one would need a spotlight. That is possible to do with a tree or a flowers in foreground, but totally impossible to light up the whole Deadvlei pan, and surrounding sand dunes. Next time I will pay more attention to the shape of the Milky Way but my photos (from April/May) shows it more upward pointing then arch-like.

Pune, India
Level Contributor
132 posts
29 reviews
8. Re: How do people get photos of the night sky in Deadvlei?

Also found this:

shemimages.com/event.asp?e_id=45&tour=4

Especially this bit :

Photographing Deadvlei at night is a very controversial subject. Permission filming permit, but this avenue has been closed down to all but commercial filming companies. Nowadays there is an alternative way to arrange night time access and we have been allowed access for the past three years without any trouble. We hope that this arrangement stays in place going forward, but we can’t and don’t want to make promises that we can’t keep. We don’t see any reason why our arrangement will fall through – we have been taking tours to Sossusvlei for almost ten years now and we have an excellent relationship with the park’s staff. We simply want anyone booking for this tour to be aware of the fact that a night shoot in Deadvlei simply cannot be guaranteed (by us or any other company) due to factors beyond our control.

Pune, India
Level Contributor
132 posts
29 reviews
9. Re: How do people get photos of the night sky in Deadvlei?

I don't disagree with your hypothesis Xelas. Depending on the moonphase, it's not unlikely that the photographer made the foreground shots under moonlight and then waited for the moon to set and the milky way to be visible, got shots of that and then went into lighten blending mode on photoshop, a few tweaks here and there and got the final result. I'm not fussed about the composite as such because most good milky way shots tend to be that way. I'm more curious about how people are getting access. It seems tour operators do this with some ease :-)

Isle of Man, United...
Level Contributor
40,063 posts
452 reviews
10. Re: How do people get photos of the night sky in Deadvlei?

Last New Years Eve we saw lots of people right up to Midnight and beyond inside the NP so access is certainly possible if you know which track and/or who to ask.

As to the subject photo. It is an obvious 'fix' of several different exposures taken at different times. All the stars rotate bar the big yellow one below the horizon. The lighting is just plain wrong. How convenient to get the arc of the milky way neatly encircling the tree (which is strangely silhouetted against the sunset whereas the dunes are not) . My challenge would be to be shown the tree silhouetted against the stars.

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