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  • My husband and I want to photograph the night sky. For that we stay in a small lodge in Omaruru, Namibia, where there are no artificial lights at night, it is New Moon and there is a huge rock which combines nicely with the stars.

    After dinner we walk with a flash light the path from the dining room to the platform on which our tent waits for us. We are right beside that huge rock. Then we take our tripods and cameras and bring them to a place which we have chosen during the afternoon. We fix the cameras on top of the tripods and put our flashlights away. As nearly always the sky is clear, the air is dry and above us spreads the splendor of the southern night sky. We have the idea to first leave the lenses of our cameras open for a few minutes and finally for a whole hour. That is a way to see the light paths of the stars over the sky. In reality, of course, not the stars move, but the Earth rotates underneath. I stand there in the darkness. All the rock dassies and birds are silent. I experiment with just a few minutes of time that I leave the lens open. Already after just four minutes the stars don’t appear like dots anymore, but as short lines in the sky. That is how fast the Earth rotates! I am impressed to see this on the small screen in the back of my camera. I prepare to shoot another photograph. My husband is not far from me doing his own thing, but I cannot see him, just sometimes I hear the clicking of his camera. In between our clicks the world seems to stand still, even though the photographs we shoot prove just the opposite. Suddenly I feel all alone in the immensity of quiet and darkness. Suddenly I hear something moving in the dry grass all around us.

    “There are leopards here”, told us the lodge owner at dinner time,” But to see one is more improbable than to win the National Lottery!” I ask myself if maybe I am in the process of winning the lottery. “You are always such a chicken – shit!” I hear a voice in my head scolding me. Finally I hear the clicking of my husband’s camera and push the leopard out of my head. I let the camera register the movement of the EARTH/Stars over the time of a whole hour and relax into the night. I contemplate how there is never a standstill in the universe. Every moment I fly on my planet around the sun and the sun on its path through the galaxy and the galaxy… just considering this I feel a little dizzy. And every moment I am a moment closer to my death!

    After the final click we take our flash lights to help us find the short way back to our tent. When we meet there my husband comments,” At a certain moment out there I heard this noise and had the fantasy that a leopard was stalking us!”

    We creep into our beds. I wake up several times during the night because I hear noises. “Those are just the rock dassies!” whispers my husband and makes me fall asleep again.

    Photography by Kiki

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