Marsel van Oostan

By Marsel van Oosten Back to

Star Trails © Marsel van Oosten Star Trails © Marsel van Oosten

Namibia is not only the least densely populated country in the world; it is also one of the driest. The clear desert air is perfect for shooting stars and star trails.

I had planned the trip to coincide with the new moon so that we would have pitch-dark nights with lots of stars. For my first exposure, I waited until the sun had set and the sky was already quite dark, so no need for any filters −the foreground was lighter than the sky. The 30-second exposure with my Nikon D3, AF-S 17-35/2.8 lens, was enough to pick up some glow on the dunes in the background. It was followed by 47 four-minute exposures ( a total of 188 minutes) @ f/4, ISO 100, using a tripod and programmable cable release. The set up was left in the desert overnight, 40 miles away from our camp.

Back home, I stacked the star trail shots on top of the base layer in Photoshop to achieve the final result.

About the Author

Marsel van Oosten
For Marsel van Oosten, taking photographs began as a way to escape from life in the fast lane. After a trip to Tanzania, the Serengeti fueled his passion for wildlife photography. Five years later he swapped his established advertising career for the precarious life of a nature photographer. In 2011 He won the title of Nature Photographer of the Year. His images are published worldwide, in advertising, design and in magazines such as National Geographic. Marcel currently lives in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. He and producer/videographer Daniëlla Sibbing organize specialized wildlife and landscape photography tours and workshops all over the world.