260,000 Photos Went Into This Stunning Timelapse of the Pacific Northwest

Photographer John Eklund spent the past year visiting various locations in the Pacific Northwest of the United States, using his camera to document the stunning beauty of places ranging from Crater Lake in Oregon to Mount St. Helens in Washington. He writes,

I am a photographer from Portland, Oregon. I want to share the beautiful NW region through my eyes with time-lapse photography. I choose to shoot locations that appeal to the way I would like to interpret the story of time. Here in the Pacific Northwest, there are endless opportunities to document the magnificence of the world around us. I have discovered that when time is the storyteller, a special kind of truth emerges.

Eklund ended up shooting approximately 260,000 photographs that weighed a whopping 6.3 terabytes. His gear list included a Canon 5D Mark II, two 5D Mark IIIs, a 24mm f/1.4 II, a 16-35mm f/2.8 II, a 24-70mm f/2.8, and a couple tripods and dollies. He says that his secret to creating time-lapse videos is trial and error, having spent “hours upon hours” trying to figure out what works and what doesn’t. We’d say he’s gotten it figured out. Wouldn’t you?

  • Ralph Hightower

    That is stunning! He got me with the Aurora Borealis and Milky Way; photographing the Aurora Borealis is now my top bucket list item since I checked off my top item on July 8, 2011. I also want to photograph the Milky Way, but knowin where and what time it will be in the sky is part of the equation.

  • Eric Silva

    The center of our Milky Way Galaxy lies beyond the constellation Sagittarius. Sagittarius is particularly rich in star clusters, planetary nebulae, and diffuse nebulae, both luminous and dark. Th actual center is marked by a radio source known as Sagittarius A*. In the northern hemisphere the months between June and November is a good time to view it. The great rift is a series of dark, obscuring dust clouds in the Milky Way. These clouds stretch from the constellation Sagittarius to the constellation Cygnus. You need to find an area far away from big city lights and other ground light pollution to view it in its entirety.

  • Piblo

    Very neat. Few oddities i 1:03 (if you scroll the bar you get a timer) in upper left corner, meteor appears to change direction…could be a plane I guess. And at 3:11 in the lake, there is a dark cloud floating over to the mountain (left side), then reversing direction, but there is no such cloud up in the sky. Can’t figure that one out. Love night photography stuff.

  • Piblo

    Very neat. One oddity I saw is at 1:03 (if you scroll the bar you get a timer) in upper left corner, meteor appears to change direction…could be a plane I guess. Really live night shots.

  • nickg

    1:03 – Can’t be a meteor. Think about the real time that passed for those few frames to be captured; a meteor is typically visible for only a second, if that. Plane.
    3:11 – It’s a piece of wood or something floating in the water.

  • PJ

    I wondered if anyone else noticed at 3:12 for several seconds the living creature of SOME kind (can’t tell what) that slips across the snow at lower left to drink it seems and then returns.

  • HA

    Stunning clip, the scenes are are incredible.

  • John Kantor

    A year of time invested and there’s no market for it. Another amateur photographer.

  • Peter29

    Can somebody share the technique to do such shots?

    Ist it “just” a DSLR on a tripod taking long exposures at high aperture, and after you took say 200 such images you turn them into a video file?

  • Jackson Cheese

    It must suck to have the kind of mind that needs to put a price tag on everything.

  • Ralph Hightower

    Thanks Eric.
    I live out in the country, so light pollution is not a problem.

  • Jackson Cheese

    Sort of. It looks like he has some camera movement in a lot of these shots, and that’s what i’d be most interested in learning how to do.

  • Shaina Gibson

    What I really want to know, is how he was able to capture the milky way in his photos. I can’t get anything nearly as nice looking. Is he using a filter or his camera just good?

  • Kane Strous

    You need a time lapse dolly (linear controller/motor and rails). Setups tend to start around $1000. Unless you have the skills to make one yourself.

  • Tim

    As far as i know you need fairly wide apertures to get good star photographs, as too long an exposure will capture movement in the stars (actually it’s the earth’s rotation) and render them blurred. You can get decent star photographs with most DSLRs but you have to have a lot of skill and knowledge. There’s loads of information on the net about time lapse and astrophotagraphy, get reading ;)