Stars as seen from the campfire in Kullu, India. My inability to identify any constellation other than Orion’s belt has been a source of great frustration for me; my brother, Neel, has had greater success. Nevertheless, being able to see the stars – even if I can’t understand them – is a wonderful feeling. In Singapore, due to our residence in a condo, we’re lucky if we see the moon most days. My envy for those living in the countryside or somewhere where the stars can be seen regularly is reaching unparalleled heights.
Prior to my Kullu visit, I had never had the chance to photograph stars before. Singapore’s skies are foggy with light pollution and on the best of days, I can see the moon just peaking above the tall buildings that surround my condominium.
Kullu was none of those things. With the barest minimum of electricity inthe area and with mountain air clear enough to penetrate any haze and far enough away from all civilization, the stars were stunning. While I neglected to bring a tripod, as that would have bene somewhat difficult to transport in the basket that was the only means of crossing the river the other side of which the guesthouse lay on, through some convoluted arrangement of books, stones, and camera, I managed to fashion a makeshift one. My first attempts, though, were brutal in their simplicity. I placed my camera on a flat surface such that the viewfinder was facing down and the lens up. I set a 30-second exposure and manual focus. I clicked, waited half-a-minute, and prayed to God the picture came clear, as I had no way of seeing what I was photographing, because the viewfinder was on a rock.
This was one of the images where the prayers I offered were to no avail. That slightest bit of blurriness, however, I will bear proudly; it is my battle scar.(On a completely unrelated matter, the question is still up: should I continue my Journal Journeys series for this trip? Comment and tell me!)