Categories: AstrophotosVideos

Stunning Timelapse: Arizona Sky of Clouds and Stars

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:

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.

Nancy Atkinson

Nancy has been with Universe Today since 2004, and has published over 6,000 articles on space exploration, astronomy, science and technology. She is the author of two books: "Eight Years to the Moon: the History of the Apollo Missions," (2019) which shares the stories of 60 engineers and scientists who worked behind the scenes to make landing on the Moon possible; and "Incredible Stories from Space: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Missions Changing Our View of the Cosmos" (2016) tells the stories of those who work on NASA's robotic missions to explore the Solar System and beyond. Follow Nancy on Twitter at and and Instagram at and

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