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Night Sky, Trans-Ili Alatau, Kazakhstan by Olga Kulakova

Actually this is not exactly what I have planned to capture at this location. The circumstances were completely different and probably were even better than I have expected. When me and my friend have reached this place and set up our camp, nothing was visible at all due to the foggy and rainy weather, and I had no idea what I was going to capture at this location, so I got disappointed and went inside the tent thinking about coming here again sometime in the future.

But when the night fell down the mist went away showing us the starry sky and the surrounding mountain peaks, and the clouds illuminated by the moonlight were quickly moving beneath – the view was absolutely breathtaking. This was perhaps one of the most beautiful nights over the past one year of my mountain trips.

However, night photography in the mountains appeared to be definitely more difficult and complicated than I have ever expected. I stayed outside almost whole night, fighting against sleep and trying not to miss the right moment, got completely cold, exhausted and could already feel mountain sickness at the altitude of 3700 meters above sea level because I was not properly acclimated. I was waiting for the Milky Way but by the time it reached my frame the night broke apart, the stars have disappeared, and I realized that it’s already 5 a.m. I made a mistake and didn’t estimate the time of Milky Way rising in the sky correctly that’s why I missed the shot I came here for, however the result of this night finally exceeded my expectations.

Now looking back I can realize that this place is one of my favorite locations and probably I should come here again.

Camera SONY ILCA-99M2
Lens Carl Zeiss 16-35mm f/2.8 ZA SSM
Aperture f/2.8
S/S 30sec
ISO 3200
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Olga Kulakova


  1. Paul

    Absolutely beautiful. And what you describe is so common with my photography. In the end, you never know what you get until you get it. Great job on this one, even if it isn’t what you wanted.

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