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Venturing on a short TimeLapse journey to the Kalahari - South Africa, I was on a mission to put the Shukuma dolly to the test. This was the first time that I would actually do a full-on shoot with the Shukuma dolly, testing out all the features and functions. I would also get to shoot on the joined 3m rail. On top of this, I had the opportunity to use the Merlin Telescope Head for the first time and I was really excited about the shots I wanted to get.

After arriving fairly late in the afternoon with only two and a half days of shooting, no time was wasted to start setting up for the first shot. Generally TimeLapsing means no sleep but with this trip it was even worse since I used a paraffin lantern to light some of my night shots with. The surrounding grass was waist-high and a runaway veld-fire could start in seconds if I wasn’t careful or if a strong wind starts to blow.

My second shot was set up for some nighttime shooting, focusing on the Milky Way. When I was going to have a peak again towards the end of the shot I noticed the cart was already at the end of the rail so it must have just finished. When I previewed the last shot that was taken I was astonished with the results. My first proper Milky Way shot!

As time went by there was no time to rest - not for me, nor for the Shukuma dolly. As soon as the one shot was complete it was setting up for the next. Shot after shot the Shukuma dolly was always busy. I tested the rail in all angles you can think of, at various intervals and shooting at various speeds on the motor.

My findings while shooting with the Shukuma dolly was impressive. The rails joined together perfectly providing super smooth and consistent movement throughout the 3m length. It’s so easy to set-up the dolly, even when out in the bush, particularly with ease of movement of the tripods along the rail. I thoroughly enjoyed shooting with the Merlin Head and got some great results with it.

Being in a rural location with no electricity, batteries could only be charged from a generator or the inverter in the vehicle. Understandably with TimeLapse photography, there is always a battery to be charged. When one is flat or not in use, it is always on charge. I didn’t want to have any let downs of missing a shot due to batteries not being fully charged. In the end the Land Rover battery didn’t last! Just before departing the last morning I found that the battery has died. Thankfully there is a generator on the farm so I was able to charge the battery from there.

I took a total of 8990 images, taking up 63GB of hard drive space. In the end, a total of 2500 images was used to produce this reel.

SPECIAL THANKS TO:

Jonelle Louw:
My wife, my assistant and my own personal DOP.

Nathan Pilcher:
For letting me shoot with his Merlin Head. Awesome!

Herman van Deventer:
For final edit proofing and advice. You rock!

Music:
“Living is giving” by Mark Petrie - Vimeo Music Store right here on this site :-) vimeo.com/musicstore

Equipment:
Shukuma DOLLY in full force. Impressive! - timelapsesa.co.za
Nikon D700 / 20mm f2.8 Nikor Lens (manual focus)
Merlin head
Dynamic Perception's MX2 Controller (Thank you very much Chris for allowing me to use and slightly modify this controller for my Shukuma DOLLY)

TimeLapse knowledge:
The one and only Tom Louw's site: timescapes.org
Our good friend: Google

Software:
Adobe After Effects
Apple Final Cut Pro
Adobe Lightroom
LR TimeLapse - lrtimelapse.com (Thank you Gunther for making this software FREE and also doing this, I have been asking Adobe to build this into LightRoom for a long time now)

God:
For blessing me with some clouds in the day and clear skies at night!
For creating a majestical universe and breathtaking landscapes!
And of course for my talents to produce all of this.

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