Moving stars / Mt Bromo Indonesia

Date : October 4, 2015

I spent two nights on the mountain, overlooking Mt Bromo under the countless stars. What an extraordinary landscape.

Moving stars over Bromo - JusMedic - Indonesia 2015

I can not find the words to describe the otherworldly landscape of the Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park. For me, the view over Mt Bromo and Mt Semeru was by far the most spectacular sight so far in my life! If you are visiting Indonesia, put this place on your itinerary.

Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park

IMG_8835Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park is located in East Java, Indonesia, to the east of Malang and to the southeast of Surabaya, the capital of East Java. The whole area spans over 500 square kilometres.

To reach Mt Bromo, you will most probably go through town of Probolinggo, where you will catch a minibus ride to Cemoro Lawang,
which is just on the edge on the caldera overlooking Mt Bromo. The view is not the same as on the photo above. Most photographs are made on Penanjankan mountain. From Cemoro Lawang it is possible to walk to the volcano in about 45 minutes, but it is also possible to take an organised jeep tour, which includes a stop at the viewpoint on Mount Penanjakan (2,770 m) (Indonesian: Gunung Penanjakan). The viewpoint on Mount Penanjakan can also be reached on foot in about two hours.

Bromo Panorama - - JusMedic - Indonesia 2015

Mt Bromo

Mt Bromo is an active volcano and part of the Tengger massif, in East Java, Indonesia. At 2,329 metres  it is not the highest peak of the massif, but is the most well known. The massif area is one of the most visited tourist attractions in East Java, Indonesia. The volcano belongs to the Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park. The name of Bromo derived from Javanese pronunciation of Brahma, the Hindu creator god.

Mount Bromo sits in the middle of a vast plain called the “Sea of Sand”, a protected nature reserve since 1919.

Mt Semeru

Semeru is an active volcano located in East Java, Indonesia. It is the highest mountain on the island of Java at an impressive 3.676 meters.. The stratovolcano is also known as Mahameru, meaning ‘The Great Mountain. The name derived from the Hindu-Buddhist mythical mountain of Meru or Sumeru, the abode of gods.

Semeru’s eruptive history is extensive. Since 1818, at least 55 eruptions have been recorded (10 of which resulted in fatalities) consisting of both lava flows and pyroclastic flows. Semeru has been in a state of near-constant eruption from 1967 to the present. At times, small eruptions happen every 20 minutes or so.

The project

I was inspired by Elia Locardi and his picture Mt Bromo Under the Stars. I am extremely happy I discovered his photo and his tutorial before I left for Indonesia.

I have spent two nights on the mountain shooting. I hired a private 4×4 jeep to take me up the mountain at 1:30 am. The nights were clear with a lot of stars. The second night when I was shooting stars trails, fog inside the caldera was pretty awesome. You can even see the Hindu Temple Pura Luhur Poten at the base of Mt Bromo.

After two days of shooting I had plenty of material, but I had no idea what will come out of those photos. It was time to move on to Bali the next day. Only a few days ago, when I put together the photos I made during those two nights, I realised  that I did a pretty good job. I must say I am pretty happy with the result.

Used gear and technical details

Camera: EOS 5D mkIII
Lens: EF 24 1.4L II
Tripod: Gitzo traveler with Markins ball head
Stars shots: 180-200 -> 30 second exposures at f2.8 ISO 800
Base shot: 20 second exposure at f8
Software: Lightroom CC and Photoshop CC
Time of travel: 24-25.08.2015

Blending images together

You can blend images together in Photoshop with “Load images into Stack” command from Adobe Lightroom. Then you have to change the blending mode of each layer to lighten mode. After blending stars together, you have to clean up the image and at the end blend in the base shot.  It is a lengthy process, but the end results are rewarding.

There is another faster option for blending the star trails. You can blend images together with a free program StarStax. There are a lot of different blending options and other settings in the program. Play around with the settings for the best result.

I also managed to catch pretty big shooting star in my image of Mt Bromo during the night.

Shooting star over Bromo at night - JusMedic - Indonesia 2015

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