Dreamy Timelapse Puts the Nighttime Streets of Japan Front and Center

The streets and skies of Japan come alive in a new timelapse video titled Dreamlapse Japan 2.

The video, which Gavin Heffernan filmed in March, pans across scenes in Shibuya, Tokyo, and Yokohama. Viewers see storm clouds rolls through the skies, the skyline move from day to night, and endless crowds always on the move.

A long exposure image of a street in Japan.

Heffernan shot the three-and-a-half-minute video using a Canon 6D and three lenses, the Canon EF 24mm f/1.4L, Canon EF 24-105mm, and the Rokinon 12mm f2.8.

The video, which is available to view on Vimeo and is linked above, combines timelapse videos with long exposure stills stacks atop one another for an effect that combines timelapse video with a stop-motion effect. To create the street light painting or “street stacking” effect, as Heffernan describes, the photographer used StarStax. He also uses the program on star trail images for night sky work.

A Japanese city street seen from above.

Buildings and streets in Japan seen from above.

Heffernan also used this style in his first Dreamlapse Japan video, which he released last year. That video, which clocked in at almost five minutes, also featured Tokyo, as well as Kyoto and Osaka.

Dreamlapse Japan 2 offers up tranquil skylines and city streets. But two moments stand out. About a minute and a half in, viewers will spot a statue of a dog with a sash draped across.

A long exposure image of a city street in Japan.

“The dog statue at 1:35 is the mighty Hachiko, a local legend in Shibuya Square who used to meet his owner at the station every day after work, then continued to go every day for nine years after his owner died in 1925,” Heffernan explains to PetaPixel.

Another 30 seconds go by until a giant robot comes across the screen. It’s a “60 foot tall, 55,000 pound recreation of the RX-78-2 Gundam, the hero mech of the original Mobile Suit Gundam series,” Heffernan noted.

A city street in Japan.

“According to the Guiness Book of World Records, it’s the largest mobile Humanoid Robot in the world and the largest mobile Gundam,” he adds.

It’s a gorgeous video that spans so much of what makes Japan special. Dreamscape Japan 2 highlights culture, architecture, and most importantly, the people who make up the island nation.

Image credits: Photographs by Gavin Heffernan