Photog Captures Two Spectacular Natural Phenomena in the Same Time-Lapse

Earlier this month, photographer Maciej Winiarczyk captured a rare and beautiful celestial light show. While shooting a time-lapse in Caithness, Scotland, he was treated to not one but two stunning natural phenomena when his camera captured noctilucent clouds and the aurora borealis at the same time.

When Winiarczyk set out to shoot the time-lapse on the night of August 4th, he was intent on capturing the meteorological phenomenon known as noctilucent clouds. These clouds, first observed in 1885, are the highest clouds in our atmosphere.

Residing somewhere between 47 and 53 miles high in the mesosphere, they are composed entirely of ice crystals and can only be seen between certain latitudes during twilight when the rest of the atmosphere is already in shadow.


But while capturing NLCs alone would make for a pretty amazing time-lapse, Winiarczyk wound up capturing a special bonus as well. While the NLCs were performing their dance in the mesosphere, they were joined by the aurora borealis (which takes place at about the same height).

Each phenomenon is beautiful (and somewhat rare) by itself. Together, they make for a truly stunning sight.

Watch the embedded video at the top to see what all the fuss is about, and if you’d like to see more of Winiarczyk’s photography, check out his YouTube channel or pay his Flickr photostream a visit.

(via Astronomy Picture of the Day)

  • catinhat


  • caltek

    nicely done. Would love to figure out the settings to capture the transition of day to night without messing up the time lapse sequence. Goal for 2014 is to put together a time lapse and this is one that inspires me.

  • Samcornwell

    Well, that was stunning.

  • Gary O’Brien

    Soundtrack is a little over the top, though.

  • l0k

    On AV mode the camera will compensate, but in most cases it will move in stops so you’ll get sudden step changes in exposure.

    If you have the cash, you could check out “bulb ramping” to make it a bit smoother

  • John Clark

    The promote is one option and Magic Lantern firmware also has bulb ramping. That is an amazing time lapse!

  • bc

    Yeah if your have a canon check out magic lantern, has all the tools you could need and silent dng which is a
    lot healthier on your camera.

  • Suzie Smeins

    This world is truely amazing!

  • caltek

    Thanks BC. I have ML installed on my Canon (60D) and have used it a fair amount just never really tested night time lapse.