See a Glowing ‘Honey Moon’ and Unique Star Trails in New Night Sky Timelapse

The “stars” of a new 3-minute timelapse are some very unique star trails and a glowing fireball that is actually a giant ‘honey moon‘ — the full Moon in June. Gavin Heffernan from Sunchaser Pictures and Harun Mehmedinovic from Bloodhoney.com teamed up for this video, filming in gorgeous mountain locations in the Southwestern US, showcasing gathering storm clouds and stunning night sky scenes.

At about 1:50 in the video, you’ll see a unique “split” star trail effect, where it looks like the trails are cascading down the sides of a mountain. At 2:02, the Moon appears to burn through the sky like a meteor.

See imagery from the footage below:

This video is part of the Skyglow Project, which is an initiative to protect the night skies and raise awareness of the light pollution and its dangers. It was produced in association with BBC Earth.

Interestingly, Heffernan said some of the footage seen here was also featured this summer by The Rolling Stones in their Zip Code Stadium Tour, after Mick Jagger saw some of their previous timelapse videos.

The footage was shot in Monument Valley, Arizona, Trona Pinnacles, California, and Red Rock Canyon, California.

Thanks to Gavin Heffernan for continuing to share his wonderful work!

A star trail sequence from the timelapse video "Pinnacles". Image credit: Harun Mehmedinovic. Used by permission.
A star trail sequence from the timelapse video “Pinnacles.” Image credit: Harun Mehmedinovic. Used by permission.

PINNACLES – Southwest Timelapse Medley from Sunchaser Pictures on Vimeo.

Wavelight: Riveting New Night Sky Timelapse

Sandstone formations can be amazing, and if you’ve ever seen or heard about the legendary and hard-to-get-to “Wave” formation in Arizona, you’ll agree it would be a stunning location for a night sky photography shoot. Our friend and timelapse guru Gavin Heffernan was commissioned by the BBC to shoot a timelapse video from this location, and it is absolutely stunning.

“As far as I know, this is the first astrophotography timelapse ever filmed at this amazing location,” Gavin told us via email. “We had seen many beautiful night pictures taken there but no actual timelapses, so we went for it!”

Enjoy the video above, as well a some imagery, below:

This is a video where star trails and rock trails collide! It was assembled from over 10,000 stills snagged on two grueling trips. Check out more of Gavin’s work at his Sunchaser Pictures website.

Another still image from the WAVELIGHT timelapse (vimeo.com/112008512) by Gavin Heffernan (SunchaserPictures.com) and Harun Mehmedinovic (Bloodhoney.com). Created in association with BBC Earth.  Used by permission.
Another still image from the WAVELIGHT timelapse (vimeo.com/112008512) by Gavin Heffernan (SunchaserPictures.com) and Harun Mehmedinovic (Bloodhoney.com). Created in association with BBC Earth. Used by permission.

WAVELIGHT from Sunchaser Pictures on Vimeo.

Stunning, Majestic New Timelapse from King’s Canyon and Sequoia National Parks

Shooting the night sky from an area filled with canyons and towering trees might sound like a challenge, but Gavin Heffernan and his crew at Sunchaser Pictures have “majestically” succeeded with this new timelapse from Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks in California. They spent three days and two nights around the summer solstice, covering the 1,353 square miles of the two parks. They captured gorgeous night sky views, star trails, bright meteor streaks, and satellite passes — all framed by the magnificent landscape of the area.

“It was undoubtedly one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen, with incredible canyons, mountains, and vistas out of a fantasy novel,” Gavin told UT via email. “Far removed from any light pollution, the skies were equally stunning, with some epic milky ways, star trails, and the brightest meteor picture I’ve ever captured.” Image above — and see the new timelapse video below, with the meteor trails coming at 1:41 & 2:26:

Gavin said most night shots were captured with 25 second exposures on two Canon EOS 6D’s with a variety of wide, fast lenses, including a 24mm f1/4 and 28mm f1/8. The stunning star trails effect is created by tracing rotations of the Earth’s axis, using long exposures.

Star trails at dawn just as the Sun rises above the mountains in Kings Canyon. Credit and copyright: Gavin Heffernan.
Star trails at dawn just as the Sun rises above the mountains in Kings Canyon. Credit and copyright: Gavin Heffernan.

Find out more about this video on Vimeo and you can watch a “behind the scenes” video of what it took to make this video — including an encounter with a brown bear! — here.

KINGS from Sunchaser Pictures on Vimeo.

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.
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.

Whimsical and Beautiful New Timelapse: Borrego Stardance

Just outside of Borrego Springs, California, monsters lurk. Life-size metal statues of dinosaurs, dragons, and wooly mammoths stand among giant insects, birds and several other creatures. But the 600,000 acre Anzo-Borrego State Park is also an astronomer’s dream, since it is one of four communities in the world to be classified a “Dark Sky Community” by the International Dark Sky Association.

Timelapse maven Gavin Heffernan from Sunchaser Pictures has now combined these monsters and the beautiful dark sky for his latest astronomical timelapse video, Borrego Stardance. It’s an unusual and fanciful look at the night sky –- where else can you see dragons and star trails at the same time? Watch below — and crank the volume for added effect!

“Despite the grueling 112 degree temperatures, my team and I had an amazing shoot, with some of the clearest Milky Way footage we’ve ever captured” Gavin wrote Universe Today via email, “as well as some exciting creature-filled star trails, and more experiments with “Starscaping” (switching from stars to trails mid-shot).”

It’s a beautiful addition to Gavin’s already impressive timelapse and video collection. You can see a behind-the-scenes video of the Borrego site here.

You can find more information on the statues at the Galleta Meadows website.

BORREGO STARDANCE from Sunchaser Pictures on Vimeo.

Magnificent New Timelapse: Death Valley Dreamlapse 2

Have you ever dreamed of camping out under the dark skies of Death Valley? Dream no more: you can enjoy this virtual experience thanks to Gavin Heffernan and his Sunchaser Pictures crew. This magnificent new timelapse video includes some insane star trails, the beautiful Milky Way, and an incredible pink desert aurora!

“As you can see, Death Valley is a crazy place to shoot at,” Gavin said via email to Universe Today, “as the horizon is so strangely uneven/malleable. I don’t know if the valley was cut by water or underground magma, but it’s almost impossible to find a straight horizon.” See some great images from their video, below:

Gavin said he and his team tried out some new timelapse techniques, like moonpainting the foreground landscapes (0:53 — 1:20), and also some experiments merging regular timelapse footage with star trails — “a technique we’ve been calling Starscaping (1:07:1:33)” he said. “If it has an actual name, let us know! 🙂 Star Trails shot at 25 sec exposures. No special effects used, just the natural rotation of the earth’s axis. Photography Merging: STARSTAX. Used two Canon EOS 5Dmkii, with a 24mm/1.4 lens & 28mm/1.8.”

A pink aurora seen in Death Valley. Credit and copyright: Gavin Heffernan/Sunchaser Pictures.
A pink aurora seen in Death Valley. Credit and copyright: Gavin Heffernan/Sunchaser Pictures.

See their original Death Valley Dreamlapse here, as well as a behind the scenes “making of” video for this second Death Valley Dreamlapse. Sunchaser Pictures also has a new Facebook page, so “like” them!

Star trails timelapse over Death Valley. Credit and copyright: Gavin Heffernan/Sunchaser Pictures.
Star trails timelapse over Death Valley. Credit and copyright: Gavin Heffernan/Sunchaser Pictures.

DEATH VALLEY DREAMLAPSE 2 from Sunchaser Pictures on Vimeo.

Stunning Death Valley ‘Dreamlapse’

Here’s yet another gorgeous timelapse from Gavin Heffernan and his team. As we previewed in our Geminid Meteor Shower post, the Sunchaser Pictures team trekked to the world-famous Eureka Dunes in Death Valley National Park to search for some of the darkest skies on Earth during the meteor shower peak on the night of December 13th, 2012. They braved a long journey, a tough climb cold temperatures.

“But it was all worth it when the skies cleared and showed us an incredible galactic palette!” Gavin writes on Vimeo.

In addition to Geminids, there are star trails, planets and a weird spiraling object at about 1:30-1:35. It makes three broad circular sweeps over the desert – although in timelapse it appears to be moving fast, but the 5 seconds of time in timelapse equals about 50 minutes, so it’s actually not moving all that fast. It can also be seen cutting through the circular star trails picture below. There’s another 25-second exposure that of the object moving that makes it look almost like a colored rope.

“I don’t think that ‘rope’ look is unusual for a normal plane etc.,” Gavin told Universe Today via email. “The circular motion, and very slow movement are what really make it interesting/unusual. It’s definitely worth noting that the site is definitely near some kind of military installation or air force base, because we saw the spectacular sight of F-16 fighter planes zooming over the dunes, not too far off the ground. I know for sure it wasn’t a helicopter, because we would have heard it.”

Shots from the timelapse:

Star trails from 'Death Valley Dreamlapse." Credit: Gavin Heffernan/Sunchaser Pictures.
Star trails from 'Death Valley Dreamlapse.
A close-up, 25 second exposure of an object flying through the field of view. Credit: Gavin Heffernan/Sunchaser Pictures.
A 25 second exposure of an object flying through the field of view. Credit: Gavin Heffernan/Sunchaser Pictures.

DEATH VALLEY DREAMLAPSE from Sunchaser Pictures on Vimeo.