Listen, I don’t usually hawk stuff on this blog. When I do urge you to give up your hard-earned lucre, I only link to stuff that I really like, and from people I really support.
Having said that: go buy this video.
Tom Lowe is an amazing photographer, and his time lapse videos are simply astonishing (see Related Posts at the bottom of this post). I could throw lots of words around, but why waste your time? Just watch the trailer for his new video, Timescapes 4k:
[Make that full screen and turn your speakers up.]
Stunning. Jaw-dropping. Mind-blowing. Drop-dead gorgeous. Seriously, wow.
The whole thing was shot in very hi-def (4096 x 2304 pixels) on a Red camera — I’ve seen this camera at work, and the video from it is breath-taking. Tom uses this to its full potential, creating a time lapse movie that, seriously, has set a new standard of beauty and awe for the genre.
It’s not just land and skyscapes, either. His shots of people are enthralling. I love the dancing native American — the sparks from the fire make that scene — and for some reason the rodeo dude is strangely compelling shot in slow motion. The people dancing at an outdoor concert are surreal, too.
Every now and again my work piles up and I can feel that edge of panic start to set in.
Then I saw a video and my brain let out a nice long sigh (brains are remarkable that way): Alberta Aurora – Prairie Light, a lovely time lapse that has better-than-usual resolution and color, taken as the April 23/24 solar storm swept over the Earth.
What you see in an aurora depends in part on the angle of the Earth’s magnetic field relative to the air; the geomagnetic field guides particles from the Sun’s outbursts into our atmosphere. If you are seeing this from far enough away, you get those sheets and ribbons, the interaction seen from the side. But at 1:50 into the video the perspective changes. The camera is underneath the point where the particles are streaming in, so you’re looking up, right into the barrel of the magnetic field. It’s a remarkable change in view that must be awesome to see in person.
I’ve never seen a full-on aurora, but some day I will. I hope it’s as pretty as this one was.
- The green fire of the aurora, seen from space
- January’s aurorae from way far north
- Faith and begaurora (because no one – not one person – sent me love over the AWESOME title I gave this post)
- The rocket, the laser, and the northern lights
Iceland has long been on my list of Places I Really Really Want to Visit. This video makes me want to go there even more.
[You may need to refresh this page to get the video to load.]
The video was the Grand Prize winner in the X Prize Foundation’s video contest "Why Do You Explore?", and it won videographer Joe Capra a $10,000 National Geographic Expedition of his choosing. Wow.
Of course, this picture does mitigate things somewhat.
We live on an amazing world, and there’s still so much of it left to see.
One of my biggest regrets about living in California for six years is that I never drove to Yosemite National Park, which was a mere 4.5 hours away. What was I thinking?
And time lapse videos like this don’t make me feel any better.
It’s a small comfort knowing I’ll be spending a week in the magnificent Colorado Rockies in September, but still. I’ll have to carve some time out of my life and visit Yosemite. And Yellowstone. And Antarctica, and Denali, and and and.
So much planet, so little time.
Oh, how I love time lapse video of the sky! I always peer closely, trying to recognize stars, constellations, galaxies, and other land(sky?)marks. This is more of a challenge for me when the view shows the southern sky, but it’s a whole lot easier when the videographer annotates the video itself… as in this breathtaking video called Under the Namibian Sky:
[Set it to HD and make it full screen for the full effect.]
The video is 13 minutes long, so I won’t blame you for scrolling through it. But there’s a lot to see, and most of it is labeled for you!
Namibia is located at about 20° south latitude, so for us northerners there are some odd things, most especially the Sun setting from right to left! Up here, when you face south and/or west, the Sun moves from left to right. But when you’re upside down, things are backwards.
… or even upside-down, as the video helpfully notes when Orion comes into view. That always gets me (I saw it for myself when I visited Australia a few years ago, and it truly freaked me out). Some other things to note: keep your eyes open at the 7:20 mark for a meteor with a persistent train, and for the repeated sight of the Small and Large Magellanic Clouds (labeled SMC and LMC in the video): dwarf companion galaxies to our Milky Way.
This really makes me long for another visit down below the equator. I have no idea when or even if that might happen again, but if it does, I’ll make sure I have their skies firmly planted in my brain. Simply viewing the heavens is a wonderful experience, but knowing what you’re seeing adds a whole dimension to it. I think understanding is always an added benefit while experiencing.
Tip o’ the lens cap to LRTimelapse on G+.
On March 4, 2012, the International Space Station passed over the Indian Ocean. Solar activity was high, and a gorgeous aurora raged in Earth’s upper atmosphere, yet still below the astronauts. On board the ISS, an astronaut took a series of still photos which were later put together into this video:
[Set the resolution to hi-def to really see the detail.]
Isn’t that lovely? I added the music (Supernatural by Kevin MacLeod at incompetech.com). Did you spot the moving light, traveling from left to right just as the video begins? That’s almost certainly another satellite, moving along its own orbit hundreds or even thousands of kilometers away.
I’ve written about aurorae (like here) and this method of time lapse photography many times; check out Related Posts below. With the Sun still being tempestuous, expect to see lots more gorgeous photography of our active geomagnetic field over the coming months!
Tip o’ the spacesuit visor: Remi Boucher. Credits: Image Science and Analysis Laboratory, NASA-Johnson Space Center. "The Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth." Here’s the original footage. Music: Kevin Macleod, Incompetech.com.
Yesterday was St. Patrick’s Day, a holiday in the US traditionally celebrated by wearing green and drinking too much. In that spirit, how about a nice, soothing time lapse video of green aurora?
Some of the spinning scenes of stars may not qualm the upset tummies out there post-festivities, but it probably also doesn’t help to think of the vast energies and quantum mechanics playing out over your head every day as our whirling planet geodynamically interacts with the wind from the Sun screaming across the solar system at million of kilometers per hour, either.
There have been a lot of time lapse videos made using pictures taken by astronauts on the International Space Station as they orbit the Earth. These all tend to show the lights of cities streaming by, or storms, or the spectacular aurorae that have been shimmering in our skies the past few months.
But what about the stars themselves? Sure, some videos have shown them, but usually the focus is on the planet below, not the skies above. So photographer Alex Rivest took some of the footage, enhanced them somewhat to bring out the stars better, and created this lovely video:
It’s amazing to see the Milky Way in that much detail! In fact, many times there are so many stars it’s hard to identify the part of the sky we’re seeing. The Orion Nebula and Andromeda Galaxy make several appearances, and one thing to you should definitely look out for is the breathtaking Comet Lovejoy and Milky Way tableau at the 3:00 mark. Also, at 2:30 or so, I saw a small light moving horizontally, left-to-right, just above the upper part of the aurora over Earth’s surface. It might be an internal reflection — the astronauts shoot these pictures through glass, and they’re plagued with reflections of things behind them — but it might also be something else in orbit. It’s hard to tell.
Alex has lots of other videos on Vimeo as well that are worth a look-see — I especially liked this one of the Sun setting behind the Golden Gate Bridge, something I saw many times visiting friends in Berkeley. Gorgeous!
Tip o’ the lens cap to Aliyeza Yavari on Google+.
Look. I know I post a lot of time lapse videos. But that’s because they’re so cool! Still, I’m getting choosy, and trying only to put up ones that are different in some way: ones filmed at an odd perspective, ones showing something different in the sky or foreground, or ones that have an unusually bigger feel and sweep to them.
So when I say I have one that’s really good, well, I mean it. So sit back, make this full screen, crank up the speakers, and watch The Light of Stars:
I know! This was shot on the island of Tenerife in the Canaries, an area of surpassing beauty, and one of the best astronomical observing sites in the world.
I love it when the photographer edits the cuts to match the music, and this one hits that perfectly. The Moon rise at the beginning had me laughing out loud in delight, and the distorted, wavy rising Moon at the 1:10 mark was simply stunning (I literally got a chill down my back watching it). And the spider? Come on! That was brilliantly shot.
This video was made by Daniel López, who created the lovely time lapse "El Cielo de Canarias" (Canary Sky) which I featured on this blog last year, and which is still one of my all-time favorites. If you still find yourself craving more jaw-dropping shots of the night sky, then go look at his astrophotographs.
It makes me supremely happy to know that there are such hard-working, clever, and artistically gifted people out there, whose life work is to show others just how beautiful our world is.
In early February I posted a gorgeous time lapse video of the night sky in Chile called "Astronomer’s Paradise". One of the astrophotographers who created that video, Christoph Malin, has written an article about what went into making the video, and it’s as complex as you might expect. The article discusses equipment, processing, and the location of the shoot, and yikes, what a haul it must have been! There are gorgeous pictures posted there too, like this one of a laser being used to create an artificial star to improve the telescope’s resolution:
I’ll note that Christoph put together a different version of "Astronomer’s Paradise" that has significantly different footage, and it’s well worth your time to watch.
Christoph and Babak Tafreshi are working on Parts 2 and 3. I can’t wait to see them!