Since finding a perfectly dark sky is rare in our electrically-powered world, we at Gizmodo like to highlight the areas that still remain and the photography projects that explore them. This week’s photo series comes from the Altiplano salt flats (Salar de Uyuni) in Bolivia, where a team journeyed to the site and captured some amazing images.
Daniel Kordan, a photographer who has also studied physics, traveled to the world’s largest salt flat due to its isolation in order to take images of the stars. The team spent almost a week getting acclimated to the altitude before even heading up to the plateau (it’s around 3,600 meters [11,800 feet] above sea level).
In an email to Gizmodo, Kordan detailed some of the journey, including the risky drive up to the salt flats, which occurred in the dead of night. They tracked a route during the day and followed those points exactly via GPS.
“Literally you can’t see a thing, just absolutely black tunnel in front of your car,” he said. “What you feel is just how your car going through the mess of water and salt. It’s very easy to get stuck on the dangerous surface.”
The trip was worth it, because the results are unbelievable. The salt flats almost perfectly reflect the night sky.
“It was hard to believe our eyes and senses,” Kordan wrote. “It seemed that we [floated] in the open space. Our spaceship is parked in [the] distance, and stars are blinking with blue, red, and yellow colors... It’s space on Earth, isn’t it?”
Kordan used a special astrophysical camera (hence the colors). The images were then stitched together in PTGui (an image stitching software) and enhanced in Photoshop.
You can check out more of the images below and more over at Danielkordan.com.