On October 7, 2015, my phone was buzzing with Aurora Borealis notifications so I packed my camera gear and headed to my local go-to spot. Unfortunately, not every shoot goes as planned and there was some kind of event that made it too crowded to set up my time-lapse. Back on the road for another half hour, I reached my next best location and immediately saw columns of light on the horizon. I don’t care how tired or stressed you are, witnessing the Northern Lights is always an amazing, refreshing experience. The show didn’t last very long but it was well worth the hunt.
On September 27, 2015, my wife and I set up chairs in our backyard and lucked out with clear skies during the supermoon lunar eclipse. Below is a time-lapse from that evening and this one took quite a bit of effort (over 1,000 photos). Because the moon moves rather quickly, I had to keep repositioning the camera and also change settings as the light grew dim.
I set the interval at 5 seconds apart, which worked well for the wide shots but next time I would try a shorter duration for the tight shots. The centered-and-aligned scene starting at 0:47 is comprised of a 133 photos that I had to manually align in Photoshop (very tedious and time-consuming).
All in all, a great night and it’s always exciting seeing the results come to life in a time-lapse.
Here’s my backyard view of the Perseids meteor shower from August 12, 2015. I managed to catch a plane, satellite, some rolling clouds, and a few dancing trees as well. You’ll also notice the stars begin to look soft at the end and it’s because I forgot to put a couple hand warmers on the lens to help against the dew.
Shot on a Canon 6D with a Rokinon 14mm lens.
About a week ago, I launched a new side project called Time in Lapse. The goal for this project was simple: share everything I have been learning about time-lapse and landscape astrophotography. It was a lot of work writing and organizing all the content but I’m very happy with how it turned out.
So who is this site for? Anyone who wants to learn time-lapse photography or capture the night sky with their DSLR. The guides cover all the basics, everything from camera settings to recommended gear and I’ll be updating the Blog with new tutorials on a regular basis.
I’m particularly proud of the Astrophotography guide, which describes how photograph the Milky Way and other nighttime landscapes. I share all the tips and tricks I have acquired after many nights under the stars and countless hours researching.
To get this initial version of the site launched, I did have to hold off on releasing some features to meet my deadline. For example, the Store page will eventually include a “Videos” section where you can purchase stock footage for your own projects (coming soon). I also have plans for creating video tutorials and a lot of other exciting updates, so stay tuned.
I hope Time in Lapse can inspire you to photograph your own adventures and please feel free to send me any questions along the way.
Last Monday, my Aurora forecast app on the iPhone was reading high levels and there was a buzz amongst other astrophotographers I follow on Instagram. Exhausted from a another long day of work, I reluctantly grabbed my camera and headed out around 10PM.
I had no idea it would be one the best nights of my life.
On the grassy slope of a small pond, I arranged my camera and started looking for the Aurora. The sky in front of me was fairly illuminated but I assumed it was from the quarter-moon reflecting on clouds above the horizon. Then I took my first photo. “Wow, this is amazing!” Purple and pink pillars of light rose out of a soft green haze. It took a minute to fully believe that I was watching the Aurora Borealis.
I set up a time-lapse and waited. Once in a while, I could faintly see new columns of light with my own eyes, although it looked nothing like what the camera was seeing. All around me were hundreds of fireflies hovering above the wet, tall grass — I felt like I was at a noiseless fireworks show. The sound of constant water spilling from the pond’s runoff filled the night, along with fish jumping, an owl hooting, and two curious ducks who swam near me for hours.
During one of my time-lapse sessions, a blazing white streak burned across the sky, lighting everything around me. I have never seen a shooting star so bright. You can see it around the 8-second mark in the video above.
Unsure of what settings to use for my first attempt at photographing the Aurora, I eventually stopped my time-lapse and restarted it with a shorter interval. The wind had picked up at that time, bending the grass in front of me and creating small ripples on the water. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw what I thought were clouds quickly moving by but then I realized it was the Aurora growing stronger.
Waves of light rapidly pulsed across the sky, similar to the movement of a lazy flame. In complete awe, I watched the northern lights dance above my head like I never thought possible in New Hampshire. Quickly, I repositioned my camera, configured another time-lapse and spent the next hour watching pure magic.
By 2AM the next morning, I was feeling guilty for witnessing such beauty without my wife (who stayed home with our sleeping daughter) and knew that I had already captured some amazing footage. I packed up, looked at the Aurora one more time, and said, “Thank you.” Not two seconds later, another fish jumped directly in front of me as if to reply, “You’re welcome.”
What a stunning night it was. Stay tuned for more astrophotography and tutorials coming soon.