I recently went on a trip to South Africa for two weeks. Whilst I was there I spent time seeing family and friends and took the opportunity to take as many photographs as I could of such a beautiful country. However my main focus was to capture South Africa time lapse sequences. Having lived in South Africa and going back a lot of times I knew exactly how amazing the night sky is, and just how many stars there are in the remote areas.
After 2 flights and 12 hours travelling we landed at Johannesburg International Airport, we got straight in our hire car and drove for about 7 hours directly to the Kruger National Park. We arrived at the Kruger Park in the evening, and because it is currently winter in South Africa it had already gone dark. This was my first opportunity to capture the start of a star time lapse, this is something I had been wanting to do for such a long time but just never had the right location to do it. Before I even unpacked my clothes I had already unpacked my camera bag and had the camera set up on the balcony trying to capture the stars. It did not work… 19 hours worth of travelling takes its toll on you, which meant I was not thinking straight and made a couple of silly mistakes, so I decided to pack away and just get some rest before doing it all the next day.
The following day we spent driving around the Kruger Park seeing all sorts of wild animals, this was the first opportunity I had to properly put my new Nikon D4 to the test. It worked perfectly! I was able to capture sequences without missing a single frame shooting at 10fps. This really helped when the animals were erratic and unpredictable. Once we were back at our house in the evening I set up the Nikon D4 to shoot a star time-lapse, I played around with the settings until I got exactly what I wanted and I was amazed by the low light capabilities of the D4.
The rest of my time in South Africa I focused on getting as many time lapse sequences as possible. It was such a good feeling when a time lapse came together exactly how I wanted. One night I left the D4 on all night, and in the morning I always quickly review the images by just scrolling through on the camera to get an idea of what the time-lapse will look like once it is processed. On this occasion I thought the time-lapse was ruined and was going to look rubbish because a lot of smoke and clouds came across the frame, however I was amazed at how good it actually looked. The moon set behind the mountains and there were these amazing rays of light that caught the smoke and the clouds perfectly, this just added to the time lapse. Instead of it just being another star time lapse it turned out to be something a bit more unique and special; so I was super happy with the results.
Once I got back to the UK I explored what else I could do with the time lapse images I had captured of the night sky. I created some star trail images which combined the hundreds of photographs I took all into one still. These photographs really help to show the movement of the earth and I like the idea of them.
The video below is what I came back with, and the gallery of images is a selection of my favourite shots.