The thing’s hollow — it goes on forever — and — oh my God! — it’s full of stars!
Do you remember that classic quote from Dave Bowman in 2001 : A Space Odyssey – his last statement as he is entering the star gate and just before he loses contact with Mission Control?
That’s exactly what I said when I looked up and saw the night sky at Hanle. I haven’t seen the Milky Way often enough and here I was looking up and seeing the complete band – from the central part, right near the bright Jupiter, stretching all the way over me to the opposite side of the horizon.
Majestic would be a gross understatement to describe the scene. Just as it would be an exercise in futility to try and capture all of it in a photo.
I decided to try and make a time-lapse instead – but we had very limited time to work with – moon-rise was at 8:51pm and that left me with a possible 70 mins. The Toyota in the foreground was the only available prop that we had and a torch wrapped around a hanky (to mute the beam) was a simple way to try and light-paint it.
It was quite cold out there, a slight breeze making it a bit more uncomfortable and close to freezing. A time-lapse with a light-painted car meant that I couldn’t move anywhere for 70 minutes. Each frame was a 25-sec exposure and I had to try and uniformly light-paint the vehicle for 3-4 seconds during each exposure. So I was quite stuck where I was. But since I had 2 camera’s, I wanted to capture myself in action.
Being in the same frame as the Milky Way is quite priceless. Made up for the fact that I didn’t quite like the time-lapse movie that I made.