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Dagub Cave


Camera : Sony A7rV

Lens : Sony 12-24 F2.8 GM

Tracker : Benro Polaris

Tripod : Really Right Stuff TVC 45

Head : Arca Swiss D4

Sky : 240secs F2.8 Iso 800 stack of 12

Foreground : 480secs F2.8 Iso 800 LENR LLL

Filters : Kani night filter

BTS Dagub

While Socotra is better known for its endemic species of trees and wildlife, there are many limestone caves which dot the island. The largest of these is the Al-Hoq Cave but it is the Dagub cave which offers the more interesting nightscape thanks to its view to the south. Stalactites, formed over centuries of water dripping from the cliffs, come together at the mouth of the cave to form an interesting foreground against which to frame the night sky. Socotra is very sparsely populated and as a result the skies are very clear whenever the clouds part ways. Being close to the equator, allows one to frame objects otherwise seen only in the Southern Hemisphere. See in the sky here from left to right is the Coalsack Nebula, the Southern Cross, the Running Chicken Nebula, Eta Carina and Gum 15….. The cave is very dark and I had to take a rather long exposure of 8 minutes in order to try and get some details in the foreground. In hindsight, I should have probably gone for a longer exposure of 16 minutes to capture more light. Low Level lighting was also used in multiple exposures of 15 and 30 secs to create some drama along with a brighter light in the alcove to the left of the frame. I then shifted to the outside of the cave to get a clear view of the sky and captured 12 frames of 4 minutes each on the Benro Polaris tracker. The frames were then stacked and along with the foreground images, blended together in Photoshop.

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