Flying through space doesn't require leaving the ground. In this short, tens of thousands of star trail photographs capture the overwhelming beauty of our planet's rotation as starry skies swirl and reel above Oregon.
Most of these night time lapses were originally captured for my long-form films 'Discover Oregon' (vimeo.com/ondemand/discoveroregon) and 'Portraits of Oregon' (vimeo.com/ondemand/portraits) at Mt. Hood, Steens Mountain, the Painted Hills, and more. Many represent an entire night of shooting. I captured enough time lapse for these that I finally blew out my 6D shutter a few months back!
Film by Tyler Hulett:
Learn my time lapse process here:
For more information or licensing of this edited film - please contact me at:
Individual clip licenses are available via Story & Heart:
Or Getty Images:
© 2017 Discover Oregon
If you'd like more background on how this short came to be for re-posting this video to your site or blog - please feel free to grab quotes from the interview I prepared for Alpine Labs below:
Tell us about your idea(s) behind this?
‘Oregon Trails’ came together somewhat by accident after I shot a telephoto north star time lapse that I wanted to see as a star trail clip (the opening shot). I loved that first clip so much that I wondered if I could also use star trail stacking to show night shots from my longer ‘Discover Oregon’ and ‘Portraits of Oregon’ films in a unique and refreshing way. Over a few weeks, I then reprocessed my files and put together ‘Oregon Trails.’
What did this involve? How much time/effort went into this?
Depends on where you start counting from! ‘Oregon Trails’ is mostly a re-imagining of time lapse content that I already had sitting on my hard drives from past and in-progress projects. The entire film came together from concept to delivery in under two weeks. That said – the shots in it took dozens of trips around Oregon and over three years to assemble. A lot of time spent camping out with Tamara Logsdon (basaltaphoto.com/), or Lance Page (pagefilms.com/), and a growler of IPA. Even blew out and replaced my 6D shutter at 300,000 actuations a few months ago, but it didn’t feel too much like work!
How did you make the star trail effects!?
There are a handful of different tools you could use do this, but I used the freeware program StarStaX (markus-enzweiler.de/StarStaX/StarStaX.html#download). Since the program doesn’t recognize camera RAW, I took time lapses I already rendered into DNxHR 4K, and re-exported them as TIFF stacks via Davinci Resolve. I then ran these 45,000+ still frames through StarStax with a variety of different settings, and used the ‘save after each step’ setting to create separate stacks of TIFF files that showed the growing star trails. Many hours and a few terabytes of data later, I compiled these into videos with Resolve for the final film. Last year, I made a full 14-part time lapse course on my process from gear, to shooting, to rendering, that you can watch as part of the Story & Heart Academy (storyandheart.com/academy?c=1&rfid=3169). That’s a good place to find my full workflow.
Any unexpected outcomes? Or surprises?
In my first draft for ‘Oregon Trails’ I intentionally avoided stacking shots with Radian motion control thinking they would be a mess, but did render one as a test. Glad I decided to! Adding camera motion to the spin of the sky led to the wonderful abstract star trail patterns visible at 0:45, 2:44, and 3:47. To my surprise, I also found that the stacking process can turn even noisy and imperfectly focused shots from my old entry-level T2i camera into beautiful star trail videos. It was a lot of fun to breathe new life into some of these older clips I now consider well 'below spec' for traditional astrophotography.
Where can we see more of your work?
All my short and long films are hosted on Vimeo (vimeo.com/discoveroregon) either as free shorts or via Vimeo on Demand. The longer on-demand projects are about to go live on Amazon Prime Video, so anyone with a Prime account will be able to watch them there for free soon. For more context on my films, plus my photography and nature recordings, check out my website (discoveroregon.org/).