This incredible time-lapse video was created using photos captured from the International Space Station at night.
[It] begins over the Pacific Ocean and continues over North and South America before entering daylight near Antarctica. Visible cities, countries and landmarks include (in order) Vancouver Island, Victoria, Vancouver, Seattle, Portland, San Fransisco, Los Angeles. Phoenix. Multiple cities in Texas, New Mexico and Mexico. Mexico City, the Gulf of Mexico, the Yucatan Peninsula, Lightning in the Pacific Ocean, Guatemala, Panama, Columbia, Ecuador, Peru, Chile, and the Amazon.
Time-lapse photographer Randy Halverson spent three months hunting thunderstorms at night in central South Dakota using a Canon 5D Mark II, Canon 60D, and Canon T2i. Capturing both the storms and the Milky Way in the same shots proved to be a difficult task:
One of the challenges in making this video, was trying to get good storm and star shots. The opportunity doesn’t come along very often, the storm has to be moving the right speed and the lightning can overexpose the long exposures. I had several opportunities this summer to get storm and star shots. In one instance, within a minute of picking up the camera and dolly, 70mph winds hit. One storm was perfect, it came straight towards the setup, then died right before it reached it. [#]
In the end, he captured enough photographs to create this 3-minute-long time-lapse video showing the galaxy floating overhead while storm clouds roll in. Lightning photos are one thing, but seeing storms sweep across the scene at night is incredible.
It took six months of on and off shooting for photographer Colin Rich to create this amazing time-lapse video showing Los Angeles at night. He used a Canon 5D that’s still chugging along after 120,000 actuations. Be sure to watch it in HD and in fullscreen!
“Moonbows” are rainbows that appear at night under moonlight, and are difficult to see with human eyes but beautiful when captured in long exposure photographs. There aren’t many places on Earth where this phenomenon can be regularly witnessed, but a few of them are found at the waterfalls in Yosemite.
Steven Bumgardner, the video producer for the national park, spent two years moonbow hunting and shot over 20,000 still photos with a Canon 5D Mark II to create the time-lapse sequences seen in the video above. After watching, you might want to add “moonbows” your list of things to see and photograph (along with the northern lights, perhaps).
Photographer Ben Canales created this great video tutorial teaching the basics of shooting the night sky. He goes over how to shoot quick test shots to set up your composition before discussing more in-depth tips and tricks for capturing the final shot, including the “Rule of 600″:
[...] the quickest way to determine the longest exposure that is possible for any given focal length lens, without the stars streaking, is to divide that focal length into 600. (This is the formula for 35mm. Larger formats are laxer, smaller formats more unforgiving). [#]
For example, with a 50mm lens on a full frame camera, you can only expose for 12 seconds (600/50=12) before the stars turn into star trails. It’s a good rule of thumb to keep in mind!
Sit around long enough near an airport and you can shoot photos like these — stacked long-exposure images that make airplanes look like fireflies streaking around the night sky. Flickr user Terence Chang visits various locations around the Bay Area to capture these photographs of San Francisco International Airport. Read more…
Between late 2010 and early 2011, photographer Dominic Boudreault visited Montreal, Quebec City, Toronto, Manhattan, and Chicago, shooting gorgeous images of the cityscapes at night using a Canon 5D Mark II. The images were then combined into this beautiful time-lapse video showing the hustle and bustle of highways, sidewalks, streets, and rivers.
If you’ve been thinking of trying your hand at lunar photography, tomorrow night might present the perfect opportunity to do so. It’s when the Moon will be the closest it has been to the Earth in 18 years, making it 14% larger and 30% brighter than when the full Moon is furthest away. Miss this opportunity, and you won’t see a Moon like this until about 2029 — who knows what we’ll be shooting with by then!
You don’t need fancy camera gear to capture beautiful images and video of the night sky. The above video shows a timelapse created using 1262 photos captured with a Canon 20D at 30 second exposures and ISO 800. At the end there’s a star trails photo created by combining all the stills into a single image. It’s a great 1.25 minute dose of relaxation and inspiration.