Back in February of 2016 I spent a few days solo camping at Spitzkoppe, Namibia with the goal of shooting the night sky and the surrounding area while the skies were clear and the weather was pleasant. I had been to Spitzkoppe before and had a really amazing time in the park scrambling around the rocks at night shooting the milky way over the Spitzkoppe Mountain, but after looking at the mountain in so many shots after the trip I could only think about how cool it would be to shoot from up on top. So, on this trip I choose a really epic camp site right on the eastern side of the park at the base of Grosse Spitzkoppe. After a full day of scouting locations I though I should go ahead and hike up the mountain to shoot sunset and then I'll just return down to the campsite afterwards for the night. In my excitement for getting up to the top of the mountain I didn't really factor in how much of a scramble it was to get up the mountain as the terrain was almost exclusively big round rocks, gravel and thorn bushes and not to mention there was no clear trail.
After 45 minutes or so of awkward scrambling up the rocky mountain side with full camera kit in tow I pretty much accepted my fate. The light was gorgeous up top so I set up both cameras to do some long exposures here and there and by the time the light was fading had to come to terms that there was no way I could scramble down the rocks in the dark safely. I looked through my bag and I had a spare Clif Bar, water and a can of beer, but that was about all the rations I had for the night. I probably should have been a little more prepared, but I was just so excited to actually get up there and shoot I kinda forgot to stop and plan.
In any case I gathered myself together and made a plan to make the most of the night and shoot until I ran out of batteries. This shot was taken just at sunset and into Astrological Twilight. I let the camera set out for about 2 hours capturing images from just after sunset to get a nice glow on the foreground and then also captured the stars once the sky got dark enough. In post processing I blended 2-3 images together from that sequence to make the final image.
In the end I shot until about midnight then napped amongst some rocks on my pack for a couple hours until the Milky Way rose and then continued shooting until just before dawn when all my batteries were drained. Long exposures take a toll on batteries and I shot a bunch of hours on probably 5 batteries total.
The night was long, cold and kinda uncertain, but turned out to be one of the most exciting nights of photography to date for me even if I was kinda stupid in planning it out. Finally, I've made this image into a limited edition print which is available at this link.