For all who read this blog from out of North America and may never have a chance to see Death Valley this is a treat!
(Watch in HD with headphones on & volume cranked, if you can! Hands & arms inside cart at all times!)
After the great response to SUNCHASER STAR TRAILS (vimeo.com/54741100), my brave team and I trekked to the world-famous Eureka Dunes in Death Valley National Park to search for some of the darkest skies on Earth. Despite temps below freezing, we went on December 13th, 2012 – the night of the Geminid Meteor Shower Peak, and a time of great planetary alignment. Armed only with boxed wine, firewood, and our DSLRs, we had to conquer epic climbs, sand roads with the 4×4 Jeep, and the occasional UFO!
But it was all worth it when the skies cleared and showed us an incredible galactic palette! Star Trails shot at 25 sec exposures. No special effects used, just the rotation of the earth’s axis. Photography Merging: STARSTAX. Used Canon 5D & 7D, with a 24mm/1.4 lens and a 28mm/1.8. The Geminids get crazy as the sun comes up (2:20-2:35) but you can spot a bunch more throughout, if you look closely — or here’s a nice shot (bit.ly/SkZGdw). There’s also some passing planets (1:15-1:30 and 2:15-2:25). I think these are Jupiter and Mars(?), but maybe some smart astronomer out there can verify?
The “UFO” appears at (1:30-1:35) and makes three broad circular sweeps over the desert. Though in timelapse it appears to be moving fast, consider the 5 seconds = about 50 minutes, so it’s creeping. There was no sound, so it definitely wasn’t a helicopter. Closer picture here (bit.ly/T3yK3s). It can also be seen cutting through the circular star trails in the shot used above!
Shot and Edited by: Gavin Heffernan twitter.com/GavinHeffernan
Producers: Michael Darrow, Rachel Payne, Ben Dally
Music: “Stay Down (Ambient)” by MOBY (License Courtesy MobyGratis.Com – very cool!)
Thanks: Adam Jeremy Williams, Briana Nadeau
To see more of our other Sunchaser Pictures Timelapses, visit our album here: bit.ly/LFy9KJ