Between Hell and Heaven


An hot summer night, with a beautiful clear sky full of stars, the milky way that could be seen very well with the naked eye, and a small group of enchanted people in front of the spectacle of the smallest volcano in the world, in Romagna, on Mount Busca, at the inside the Casentinesi Forest National Park.

I'm no expert in astrophotography, but this shot has captured all the magic of the night, simply a camera with a good wide angle, a tripod that's not that stable, bulb exposure and high ISOs, then half an hour of processing on the computer to balance the exposures, without using particular astronomical software.

The feeble and cold light of the superior worlds coming from the sidereal stellar heights, and the hot phantasmagorical flaming light coming from the deep bowels of the earth: truly Heaven and Hell in the same shot.

Spending the night halfway between the two worlds, under the celestial vault, in front of a small volcano that spits fire, gazing and photographing the stars has its indisputable charm, but also its cost, 100 euros to be exact , for the good morning service offered at dawn by the Carabinieri (you can't sleep in a tent in Purgatory), but it was still worth it.

Archaic and profound charm.

- Look at this beauty! - Lana shouted, and Boso whispered excitedly: - Magnificent! - Mother, - Gurri attacked Faline - where do these lights come from? - Look up there, above - Faline nodded to the sky. The four little ones looked up at the stars. - Countless lights shine on it - said Faline - some large and some very small and all live. Some of them become curious about what happens down here. So curious that it is no longer enough for them to observe us from afar like the others. And they fall. But this is a big risk. - Risk? How then? Geno asked urgently, as this word excited him. - Well, it's the smallest and youngest ones who do it - continued Faline - It's an enormous distance, they often get tired on the return flight and feel exhausted. Because flying down is easy, but flying up is terribly tiring. - What happens to them afterwards? - asked Gurri. - They shut down and die. - This is sad - Geno reflected - Their parents should warn them and forbid them from flying down here. - Curious, reckless children don't allow themselves to be warned and prohibition is even less useful - said Faline. - I admire them, they are courageous! - Gurri burst out. - And what's the point of having courage if you have to die for it? - Geno reflected. - It's beautiful - Gurri enthused - Enviably beautiful! - How do you know it ? - Rolla asked - My mother told me this when I was still a child. Even today, the sight of these remote lights disturbs me.

- fragments from  Murmur in the Woods  by  Felix Salten,  1939