Lush and Gorgeous Time-Lapse Video of the Skies Over California

Bad Astronomy
The entire universe in blog form
Dec. 12 2013 10:30 AM

Time-Lapse: Into the Atmosphere

shainblum_intotheatmosphere
Sunrise over California mountains, from "Into the Atmosphere"

Photo by Michael Shainblum, from the video

Michael Shainblum is a photographer who makes exceptional time-lapse videos. His video “Existence” was spectacular, mixing the contrasts of urban and natural settings to great effect. Plus he turned me on to Daft Punk’s Tron Legacy soundtrack.

I was very excited when my pal (and accomplished photographer himself) Brad Goldpaint posted on Facebook that Shainblum had another video out. Called “Into the Atmosphere”, it does not disappoint.

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You know the drill. Full screen. High-res. Volume up.

Yegads. The scenery! The colors! I like the music, too.

One of my favorite things to see in these sorts of videos is contrasting motion; the camera moving one way, the stars another. Shainblum uses this beautifully here, including clouds moving in yet another direction to give a dizzying sense of the interwoven motions of nature. When he cuts to different shots he mixes up light and dark, blues and reds, fast and slow apparent motion, and it somehow all comes together into a poem. When, at 2:30, the music swells up again, and he cuts to the Milky Way moving behind a natural stone arch, I actually choked up a bit.

Stunning.

There’s more to this story, too. There’s an interview with Shainblum on YouTube, a behind the scenes look at this video, where he talked about his influences and how he shot some of the footage. It’s well worth your time.

And as satisfying as it is to see this, I have to admit I’m greedy. I already can’t wait for what he makes next.

Phil Plait writes Slate’s Bad Astronomy blog and is an astronomer, public speaker, science evangelizer, and author of Death From the Skies!  

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