Moon set time lapse

Over the last year or two I’ve been engaged in a very on again, off again project to shoot enough time lapse sequences to make a short movie. The slow progress has been occasioned both by dithering as to what I actually want to convey in such a film, and lack of time to actually go out and shoot anything at all! Nonetheless hope springs eternal, and I made it up to Rocky Mountain National Park this weekend for the first time since the devastating September floods to see what was going on at Many Parks Curve. This is highest point along Trail Ridge Road that can be reached in winter, and it has a nice view across to Longs Peak. With a roughly half-full moon setting at 11:20pm, I had in my mind a sequence showing Longs illuminated by the setting moon, fading as the moon set with the Milky Way above.

Here’s what was actually achieved (click on the image for the movie)…


It didn’t work quite as planned. Or at all as planned! The clouds built steadily as the night wore on, and there was a lot more light pollution than I had expected (that’s the yellow color, the sequence was white balanced off the early moon light and then pushed a little further to the blue). And I’m not sure the Milky Way would have been in frame even if it hadn’t been cloudy! I’ve rarely been disappointed after a trip to the park though, and this was no exception. The dynamics of the clouds was very interesting, and it was fun to apparently have the park entirely to myself – from 10pm through 1am I saw a coyote, a fox and numerous elk, but no other cars or people.

(Technical details: 15s exposures at ISO 6400, f/3.5, 17mm, no dark frame subtraction.)

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