Stars’ Harbor

This is one of my most favorite shots although it didn’t end up as I imagined.

I’ve been in this place in Al Fayoum, Western Desert of Egypt before, and I imagined the frame before I arrive as following: A boat floating in an ocean of darkness, hovering under the milky-way on a mirror of stars.

I arrived early, had a quick lunch, the weather was great, clear sky, new moon and everything seemed perfect till the night came in with an unpleasant challenge: A research facility a few kilometres away was turning all their lights up as if they were sending a message to another universe!

This is my first try. I thought the wrecked boat can be a good element in the composition, but the evil facility had another opinion!

That ruined a lot of my planning, so I had to change-direction and point the frame away from the facility, and also limit the exposure to 30 seconds to avoid over-exposing the landscape. I picked the boat and then had another challenge: The lake was not as steady as I thought and the boat was very unstable for long exposure:

Second try, away from the facility. But the boat was impossible to keep still in the water!

So I had to change plans once more, and this time, I decided to skip the idea of sending the boat to the middle of lake, and anchor it by the sand to make it stable as possible. Yet, got one last challenge with the sailor: He didn’t get what I mean by standing still for 30 seconds!

Almost there!

He would scratch his head, tie his clothes, do something random that he thought is okay with standing still!

Luckily, after 2 hours of trails, he finally got what I mean and I ended up with the final picture:

This is one of my most beloved pictures because I feel it tells our story in its simplest way: sailors in a vast ocean of darkness and stars!

I took a few other variations but didn’t color yet, this is one of them:

Stars’ Harbor!

And that was another night in the Egyptian desert!