Sudan in darkness

Naqa temple by night, Sudan

No, do not worry, I am not going to bore you with a political study and lament on Sudan future… What I want to show you are some photographs that I made between sunsets and sunrises while wandering northern Sudan.

Apart from standard travel photography, I aimed to put some of the Sudanese (pre)historical monuments, dating thousands of years back, into the center of the galaxy and give them a different dimension than the one we know from books, magazines and postcards (not that there are many).

Lion temple of Musawwarat es-Sufra under circling sky, Sudan
Lion temple of Musawwarat es-Sufra under circling sky, Sudan

In most cases I arrived at the locations around noontime to scout the area, to find the right angle for composition and to measure the distance from the temples (as there is no way to focus at night). I also consulted Sky Guide app on my mobile phone (highly recommended) to predict the times of sunset, moonrise and position of stars (Polaris in particular). I placed a big stone to where my tripod would be standing at night, enjoyed the rest of the day taking pictures of people and returned after dark.

Stars over Ghazali, Sudan
Stars over Ghazali, Sudan

For still Milky Way photos, I set ISO on my Nikon to about 3200-6400 and exposed for maximum 20 seconds. For star trails, I usually took one long exposure (60-90 min) or a set of 30-sec-frames that I would later stitch together in Photoshop like this one below.

Jebel barkal pyramids under startrails of the northern sky, Sudan
Jebel barkal pyramids under star trails of the northern sky, Sudan

After pressing my cable release, I would lie down next to my tripod and enjoy the deep darkness and silence in the proximity of the ancient temples or pyramids, gazing to the stars circling above…..needless to say, I almost always fell asleep while my camera was working.

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