Incredibly, impossibly beautiful time lapse video

By Phil Plait | May 4, 2011 10:57 am

I’ve been posting a lot of time lapse videos lately, and they’re so amazing I keep thinking they can’t possibly get any more beautiful.

I keep thinking wrong.

"El Cielo de Canarias" (Canary Sky) is simply, unbelievably breathtaking.

Wow. I mean, wow. Daniel L처pez is a gifted photographer. While looking at his photographs, my jaw literally dropped. They are that extraordinary.

Many years ago I visited La Palma, one of the Canary Islands, for a meeting. In the distance we could sometimes see the very top of Mt. Teide, seen in this video, poking over the clouds. It was so unearthly and captivating, and L처pez has captured that feeling here. This video has everything! The fluid motion of the clouds, a double rainbow (yes, yes, I know), a corona around the Sun (not the Sun’s atmosphere, but a lovely optical effect from water droplets in the clouds), standing-wave lenticular clouds, even a Green Flash! Watch the stars as they wheel across the view; can you spot the Pleiades, the Andromeda Galaxy?

As many of these videos as I have seen, I’m still looking forward to more from Sr. L처pez. This one is absolutely stunning.

Tip o’ the lens cap to Felipe Gallego.

Related posts:

Time lapse: Orion
Australian Outback time lapse
Dust, from the desert below to the galaxy above
Stunning winter sky timelapse video: Sub Zero
OK, because I like y’all: bonus aurora timelapse video
Sidereal Motion
Amazing wide-angle time lapse night sky video
AWESOME timelapse video: Rapture

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Astronomy, Cool stuff, Pretty pictures

Comments (62)

  1. Lorena

    yay! I love timelapse videos!

  2. Grant

    These make me think of the end of Soylent Green.

  3. Isn’t your brother a gifted photographer too? He and Sr. Lopez need to get together for some real “Bad Astronomy” collaboration I think. :)

  4. The similarity between the clouds “breaking” against the mountains and the ocean breaking on a rocky shore is eye-popping – makes you realize why dealing with the fluid dynamics of the atmosphere works.

  5. Daniel L처pez is a master of time-lapse photography, he is also a great astrophotographer, having achieved 11 APOD’s in 3 years.

  6. Fritriac

    Again, a nice video. But, dude, didn’t you notice it’s a corona around the MOON, not the sun? 윑

  7. Shaun Cuddy

    This video makes me appreciate things other than the clothes i wear or what cell phone im getting next….. thank you :)

  8. Zoe
  9. Scott Davis

    If you look at the sun you see that green effect like the moon.

  10. Wow. Just wow. How the clouds move! It’s truly amazing. Thanks for sharing this, Mr. Plait.

  11. Hi everyone! Thank you very much for sharing the video, it’s an honor to be in “bad astronomy”. Thank you all for the comments.


  12. Stunning video.

    But the double rainbow… WHAT DOES IT MEAN?! ( yes yes, i had to )

  13. Christine P.

    So beautiful! I especially love how the clouds move like water waves.

  14. Meh. Would have been better with Raquel Welch in a furry bikini.

    (Props for anyone who gets the reference.)

    Seriously, tho. Seriously groovy.

  15. mary lynch callahan


  16. tom mccarthy

    Thanks, Jim for sending that to me. Dad

  17. Wow the clouds from above were simply astounding, absolutely Superb. Sr. Lopez is a very talented individual, full props to him.

  18. Alan C

    Another jerky video! Please forget about Vimeo and put it on Youtube so we can all enjoy it!

  19. Aleina

    I love Time lapse Show reel.This video is definitely awesome, but not the best.

  20. That was absolutely sublime. I’ve already forwarded the link to my friends for their morning meditation.

  21. Jeff

    who says biology has a monopoly on “life” as we know it, the universe and earth themselves are “alive” in a sense you can see that here.

  22. Brian Adams

    Below is one of Daniel L처pez’s earlier celestial time-lapse works, called “Heavens of Canary Islands” (Youtube version)… filmed in Spain’s highest peaks at the Astrophysics Institute of Canary Islands where he works… btw, Daniel sure has good taste in music:

  23. Aubri

    It’s funny how watching clouds in fast-forward makes you go, “Oh! We really do live inside an ocean of air!” I mean, I know it in my head, but my brain doesn’t quite believe it until I see a video like this.

  24. IsobelA

    @ 19 Alan C – it wasn’t at all jerky for me?

    I actually really appreciate things being on Vimeo as it means that I can watch them at work, where YouTube is a banned URL.

  25. Houston

    @IsobelA – Vimeo is now banned at work. –Your Boss

  26. I drove through these mountains twice and keen to do it for the third time. The cool fresh air and the smell of pine trees make it a wonderful experience. Highly recommended place to visit. Beaches have sand of grey color – result of volcanic nature of the island.

  27. Neil NZ

    “a double rainbow (yes, yes, I know)”

    This seems to imply that a double rainbow is unusual. Is this the case, or have I missed something in the past? A double rainbow is quite common, and very beautiful, from where I sit.

  28. 30. Neil NZ Says: “This seems to imply that a double rainbow is unusual. Is this the case, or have I missed something in the past? A double rainbow is quite common, and very beautiful, from where I sit.”

    Neil – Yes, you have missed something:

  29. 15. kuhnigget Says: “Would have been better with Raquel Welch in a furry bikini.
    (Props for anyone who gets the reference.)”

    Wow, you give your props pretty easily, I mean, isn’t that like common knowledge? I’d think you’d have to go back at least to 1,000,000 years BC to find someone who didn’t recognize the reference.

    – Jack

  30. @ Jack:

    Yeah, but the Canary Islands? I mean, the furry bikini was a giveaway (I wish).

  31. 33. kuhnigget Says: “Yeah, but the Canary Islands? I mean, the furry bikini was a giveaway (I wish).”


  32. Dave, England


  33. Cody

    this is an amazing video… i usually dont comment on the things i stumble on but i could literally watch this for hours…

  34. Emma

    It’s after watching a video like this that you feel so incredibly small in the universe and that the things that we as humans stress over on a daily basis are practically pointless in the big picture. Beautiful!

  35. Erik

    I especially like the overflowing clouds at 2:50

  36. Steve

    How can anyone possibly watch this AWESOME video and not believe in the One, God, who created the heavens and the earth??? His hand print is seen throughout the video! To God be the glory!

  37. Barbara

    Steve, I assure that it is quite possible to be awed by beauty without having to attribute it to an imaginary creator (or creatrix).

  38. Ron Lilly

    Thank You for sharing this video.It’s beautiful.Watching it takes the pain I live with 24/7 away for a few minutes.

  39. You know.. One week ago died someone I knew. He wasn’t a friend of mine, but a friend of my friends. But I knew him, and sometimes I talked to him.

    And it’s.. breathtaking.. to think.. to feel.. that you can’t see anything of this world anymore when you die. That he won’t see this anymore. He’s dead

    Even if he wasn’t my friend.. this made me nearly cry. I think I will, if I watch again.

  40. This was absolutely incredibly beautiful to watch. I loved the way that the clouds looked like water and waves in some shots. The serenity of the shots coupled with the lovely music was truly a treat to watch!

  41. I am soo grateful to have been blessed to be part of this beautiful Earth!! May we never forget the beauty that is around us and within us all! 윑

  42. Earl

    Words cannot describe what this video did for me…very uplifting and beautifully crafted artwork.
    you are truly a gifted person.
    God Bless you!

  43. Allan McD

    Stunning. Just stunning….

  44. Tom

    That was a great video! Should win some kind of prize.

  45. Schupp

    Wow, makes you actually love the world.

  46. Simmy

    this is so so awesome! but what is with that music.

  47. pop

    Try playing the song “Glittering Blackness” by Explosions In the Sky with this video. It fits better, IMO.

  48. Hans-Ronny Lorentzen

    Amazing, its like the clouds are water like, oceanlike. I havent seen that before, atleast not so “pro”.
    My jaws are in my lap.

  49. Drew Romano

    So Beautiful… the clouds are like an ocean in the sky.

  50. Ralph Smith

    Absolutely awesome!!

  51. Wow!
    That really is the best word for it.
    What a stunning video. Just awesome.



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