The night sky has been a source of inspiration for artists throughout history, resulting in timeless masterpieces such as Van Gogh’s The Starry Night. And as one of the most challenging subjects to photograph, star trails are certainly worth the effort when they’re captured in all of their colorful, swirling brilliance. One contemporary master star-gazer is Russian landscape photographer Daniel Kordan, who on a recent trip to South Africa, captured the dazzling cosmos above Namibia’s Namib desert in a series of long exposure photographs.
Recalling his time spent under the stars, Kordan reveals, “Namibia nights are so peaceful and silent. I was happy to enjoy bright stars of milky way while my camera exposed thousands of photos.” Shot from the white clay desert pan of Deadvlei, the barren terrain features rocky dunes and scorched tree skeletons, which are believed to have died 600–700 years ago. In contrast to the landscape’s desaturated tones, the sky above features incredible spirals of multi-colored star trails and iridescent interstellar clouds.
If you’d like to capture your own star photos, Kordan suggests using an app like PhotoPills that allows you to predict the position of various constellations. And for more tips, Kordan offers online tutorials via his website.