Every now and then a project will take me out into the wilderness for a day or two. While the shoots in the day times are a stunning reminder of the beauty and incredible biodiversity we have here on Earth, the night times bring out a completely different type of appreciation.
To be able to watch and capture the stars slowly moving across the night sky is one of the most beautiful illusions to capture on camera. From our solid and sturdy perspective it looks like the Earth is holding perfectly still as the stars and planets move from one side of our sky to the other. Obviously, this is due to the Earth’s motion, but still there’s an amazing sense of wonder that comes over me every time I set up for a night time time lapse.
This is when I’m given the opportunity to start a small camp fire and look up wondering a million thoughts that probably won’t be answered in my lifetime. This is a good way of connecting with our earliest ancestors that did the same thing, but without a Canon 5D camera of course. These moments are rare, but very necessary. In our daily ongoings we often don’t get time to sit down in complete silence and just look up at the magnificent unknown that hangs above us every single night. Our ancient ancestors would do similarly, sit near a fire and look up, wondering what those are, who made them, how they got up so high, and other mind numbing thoughts.
Of course we have the advantage of science and education on our side. We know they’re stars, they’re billions of miles away, and there’s a whole lot of them. That aside, some of those ancient questions remain unanswered. Is there anyone else out there? What could the possibilities of a world orbiting one of those stars be like? How long will it take us to reach one of them? How will we reach one of them if we can’t even take care of our needs here? The mind wanders on and on.
Between tending to the fire, tending to the camera, and keeping any eye for night time critters it’s easy to spend the whole night looking up at the ever changing and ever shifting night sky. From certain places you can even see the arm of the Milky Way itself. Other places offer a glimpse at the rest of our universe through small pockets of windows through the tree canopy. Each place has its own distinct advantage for star gazing and time lapse capture. Despite the location, the mind still comes back to similar thoughts, usually focused in on how little we are, how brief our lives are, and how immense the rest of existence is.
Here are some favorites from recent shoots. Keep looking up, there’s something beautiful out there.