Milky Way in Sumba: Bukit Wairinding & Bukit Persaudaraan

My first ever milky way in Sumba.
I took my first step in Sumba lightheaded due to the massive lack of sleep days before. I have been working with Do Something Indonesia tenaciously, that I have been sleeping less and unprepared for this trip. However, the sight of the clean blue air above and the soft rays of sun woke me up for another day of adventure. If you wish to know the main reason of my visitation to Sumba, you can head over to this post. By reading that post, you would know that I didn't have much time to travel, but I had the opportunity to snuck in a few sites to visit in between work! Two of them were these two hills that I visited on day 1: Wairinding & Persaudaraan.
The curvy road up to Wairinding.
A hill that is shaped like a person. Can you spot it?
Sumba is such a dry island to live in. The people living in it has been struggling to get water since rain could only pour down for 2 months in the whole year. This condition is both a blessing and a curse to Sumba. Even though the locals are having a hard time getting water for daily necessities, Sumba is such a beauty in its dry season, even more better than Baluran, the so called Little Africa of Indonesia.

The curvy road up to the viewpoint of Wairinding got me nauseous. Thank God, I survived the trip after such hectic days with very little sleep time. Since Wairinding has been quite a site for the tourists, the locals are now charging an entrance fee that is very much cheap and reasonable. I was glad that it is not over commercialised by any private sectors.
The man made stairs and hut to the view point.
As my friend told me in a joking manner, the hill was named Wairinding because it gets you 'Merinding' (which is Indonesian for shivering). I truly get his joke and you would feel the same shiver if you are overlooking Wairinding as I was. It is truly a magnificent sight!
Wairinding Hills.
As I was amazed by the sight, I began to notice the high number of kids that were playing on the hills. There were countless of them! I soon began to realize why these kids would pop up so frequently on my Instagram feed! Apparently, what is our once in a year sight is a playground in their backyard, literally. I was envious and somewhat appalled by the fact that these kids are so far behind from where the world is at today.

I know that technology is also a threat to traditions and cultures, but getting our people ready for globalisation is also a huge homework that we need to focus on. But as much as I want to do more to help them, I was really caught up by the moment, watching them playing in their natural playground, free from gadgets and the world's expectation and demands.
Getting silly.
Getting a little bit too close...
Until one of em got hurt and cried.
She didn't cry very long. As soon as we entertained them and took them for a walk, they happily followed us far down below. You will be amazed to see how fast they ran from top to bottom barefooted!

Wairinding at 4 PM was definitely a right choice. The sun was warm and ready to set. It gave you a picturesque sight with a warm tone of temperature and the right amount of shadows on one side of the hills. Wait a little longer and you will catch one of the most beautiful sunset ever. I believe it was one of nature's way of glorifying its' Creator. 

Sun kissed hills.
Waiting for the sunset.

No gadgets and wifi, just stones, grasses and the soothing breeze.
Exploring further down the hills.
The sun setting slow. It was 6 PM and the sun was still not ready to set.
Patiently waiting for the sun to rest.
As the sun were on its way down, the hills were graced with a beautiful warm tone that creates a great opportunity for a photo opp. That is why Wairinding is such a beautiful place for a pre-wedding photoshoot. I found this couple doing a photoshoot on Wairinding and I couldn't resist myself to take photos of them because it was just too beautiful. If any of them wants these photos taken down, please let me know and I will not front.

Even though Bukit Wairinding was a pretty place to explore, my heart raced even stronger as my friend told me that we were going to capture the milky way in Bukit Persaudaraan. I had been to Rinjani and a lot of other mountains, but I had never succeeded to see a milky way. I was very lucky that day to have the moon lightly dimmed and the sky so clear of clouds.
I know, I was amazed as well. 
Capturing such photo would be possible if you have a mirrorless or a SLR camera. Simply set your ISO to 3200, shutter speed to 30 seconds and your aperture to the lowest possible. Get a tripod to stabilise your camera openings on such speed and set your lens focus to the farthest possible. Since you won't be able to see the focus with your bare eyes, capturing this photo could take a while. You will need to adjust your ISO and aperture depending on the ability of the camera. Don't forget to set your image to raw files if you wish to capture a detailed shot.

Including an object in the photo adds a bit of extra work. The focus must be set on the object and it must be truly still for 30 seconds. In the middle of the opening of the lens, a light must be lit up for 2 seconds so the camera could capture the object in the dark. In this case, a smartphone flash light worked just fine! Here is the image I had learned to capture in Bukit Persaudaraan.
You might want to pick an easy pose because you will have to hold that pose for 30 seconds.
There you have it! Two of the many hills that captured my heart in Sumba. More posts of Sumba coming up, but for the meantime, I need to rest for my flight to New Zealand in a few hours. Yes, I am writing this down in Kuala Lumpur International Airport for a transit to New Zealand. Yes, I am very excited for it! And yes, I will be all over in your faces about this coming trip. :)

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Unknown said...

Hi, when is the right time to go to Bukit Persaudaraan to see milkyway? said...

i love your picture, especially the kid with stone.