Stunning Timelapse: Arizona Sky of Clouds and Stars

by Nancy Atkinson on May 13, 2014

One of our favorite timelapse artists, Gavin Heffernan from Sunchaser Pictures recently was invited to Northern Arizona University as an artist in residence to speak with their photography students about his timelapse experiences. While there, he also took shooting field trips to some of the magnificent locations a few hours away, most notably Grand Canyon National Park and Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park. There, Gavin shot footage to create this incredible timelapse that includes incredible sky views and some of the most unique star trails we’ve ever seen. He titled this timelpase as YIKÁÍSDÁHÁ (Navajo for Milky Way or “That Which Awaits the Dawn”).

“The weather was very intense at times, with high winds, frigid temperatures, and stormfronts passing over us,” Gavin wrote on Vimeo, “but the locations were absolutely stunning and the clouds parted for long enough to reveal some incredible starscapes, meteors, and the clearest Milky Way I’ve ever seen!”

Below are some beautiful stills from the film:

A stunning view of the night sky over Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park in Arizona, USA. Credit and copyright: Gavin Heffernan/Sunchaser Pictures.

A stunning view of the night sky over Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park in Arizona, USA. Credit and copyright: Gavin Heffernan/Sunchaser Pictures.

Native Star Trails over Grand Canyon from the YIKÁÍSDÁHÁ timelapse. Credit and copyright: Gavin Heffernan/Sunchaser Pictures.

Native Star Trails over Grand Canyon from the YIKÁÍSDÁHÁ timelapse. Credit and copyright: Gavin Heffernan/Sunchaser Pictures.

We asked Gavin how he created this unique “split” effect on this star trails image: “The split star trails shot was done using the mirror effect in final cut, which essentially splits the screen in half. I then bent the angles a little with a fisheye filter — a little creative license/fun! Obviously nobody’s going to mistake it for a real sky, I hope!”

You can see more images from this set on Gavin’s Flickr page.

YIKÁÍSDÁHÁ from Sunchaser Pictures on Vimeo.

About 

Nancy Atkinson is Universe Today's Senior Editor. She also works with Astronomy Cast, and is a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador.

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