Monday, August 8, 2011

Guest Blog: Time Lapse Astrophotography by Luke Humphrey

One of my colleagues from my day job and photography club has been doing some amazing work lately, including some killer time lapse videos. Here’s one that he wanted to share with my audience that was so cool I couldn’t deny his request. I hope you enjoy it and hearing a little bit about what he has to say about it. – Ron

Since getting into alpine climbing a few years ago, I've become increasingly interested in time-lapse photography. I've been collecting footage in the mountains now for about 2 years, and I've recently stepped-up the creative possibilities by purchasing motion-control camera components from Kessler Crane and Dynamic Perception. We've all seen some inspiring time-lapse footage from a number of talented folks. My hope is to differentiate by taking this equipment into more difficult locations such as alpine glaciers and the summit's of high peaks, where technical skill/equipment and the ability to trek 60-70+ pounds of gear for up to 40 miles  can be required.

I know it sounds cliché, but it's difficult to put into words the experience of visiting some of these striking locations. Listening to the rumble of shifting glaciers and sound of thundering rock fall, hearing wild animals at night while sleeping underneath the Milky Way, waking up to thick clouds floating through your camp and parting to reveal visually striking peaks and valleys for miles, all of these experiences inspire me to create something that reflects these moments.

I'll continue to gather footage as I visit new places and experiment with new techniques such as astrophotography. This winter, I hope to have a piece completed that  represents my time above and below the clouds over the past 2+ years.

Once released I plan on sharing many of my "lessons learned" in a blog series, but here is a quick look at some of the equipment I generally use:

More info coming after I release the final video.

Luke Humphrey
Blog | Photography | Cinematography

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Miguel Palaviccini said...

I'm excited to see the set-up for this. I'm curious as to why you don't need a tripod as well.

Awesome video! How long was each exposure and how long was the interval between each shot? So many questions ... can't wait for the follow-up post! Thanks for sharing!

Luke said...

Thanks Miguel - yes I should clarify when I say you can "ditch the tripod" I mean for stills in all but the darkest conditions. The ISO sensitivity is so good on these cameras that I'm able to take shots while walking up a glacier at night, for example, without a tripod. E.g. Of course if you can use the tripod to reduce noise you should, but it's not always practical to stop and set it up on the climbs I do.

The exposure times really vary basedon the conditions, but for stars I generally try to get about 20-25 second exposures, back-to-back.