I wanted to visit Colombia’s Tatacoa Desert before traveling to the US, and asked my friend Susana if she would like to take a motorcycle trip there. She immediately said YES!

We traveled from Cali, and our trip was around 16 hours (driving) and stayed in a wonderful place called Orion camp base, specialises in astrophotography and astronomy in general. I had never tried astrophotography before, and it was one of the main things that I wanted to achieve on that trip.

Most nights were pretty cloudy but I was able to take one photo of 35 min of exposure. I’ll talk about this frame in another post because I shot it using another lens and exposure.

This desert has a lot of fossils. Some experts told us that some millions of years ago, it used to be a great lake, and that’s the reason we could find so many aquatic animal fossils there.

The landscapes during sunrise and sunset are incredible because we were able to see the 3 Cordilleras (3 huge mountains that were born from the Andes mountain). We call them “East, West, and Central Cordillera”.

You will see some photos of my friend above. She really enjoyed the connection between the “ancestral” feeling and look of the desert, and the possibility of watching the night sky and being able to identify Jupiter, Saturn, and a lot of constellations without using a telescope.

We had the opportunity to point a huge telescope (8″) to Saturn and Jupiter, and it was an outstanding experience! I won’t lie to you, I really cried. It was the first time that I saw those two beautiful planets with such detail and color.

The camera I used was my dad’s Nikon FM2, and I started shooting film in January 2022. I had some experience with film photography when I was a teenager, thanks to my dad, and the lens I used was the Nikon Nikkor 28-105mm AF macro f/3.5-4.5D.

Deserts are excellent places to do astrophotography, in the case of film, also easiest to achieve are the star trails; the Milky Way is pretty hard to get good photos due to the film ISO and the colors you get in the exposure you have to set (< 15s).

Thanks for reading,

~ Juan

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About the author

Avatar - Juan Roa

Juan Roa

I'm Juan Roa, a software engineer from Cali, Colombia. I live currently in Whitewater, WI and I'm studying a Master's in Computer Science. I enjoy shooting with film. My dad gave me his Nikon FM2 and I started shooting in January 2022. I had some experience...


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