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in Of Interest
Star Trails in Mongolia by Karen Hoffman
We recently received a truly remarkable photograph from veteran traveler Karen Hoffman. It was taken during our expedition to Mongolia last year to see the Kazakh Eagle Festival. Those who were on that trip will remember Karen standing out in the frigid mountain air till all hours of the night, manning her tripod, occasionally waving a flashlight over our nomadic gers to bring them out of the October darkness. The result speaks for itself. But Karen wrote:
“I like trying to get star trail photos, and this one came out particularly well. I took this on the shores of Dorgon Lake with a few of the gers in the foreground, and (miraculously!) the pole star in the frame.
To capture the star trails, I set up my camera on a tripod and programmed the cable release to take a 25-second exposure every 30 seconds (to give the camera a bit of time to store each image). The moon was very bright, so I had to set my alarm for 2 a.m. in order to get up and start the process after moonset—and man, was it cold in the middle of the night!! Good thing the yak pelts were nice and warm. The battery lasted for about 3-1/2 hours, giving me around 300 usable images. I combined the images in PhotoShop to produce this image.”