Summer is often synonymous with light, warmth, sun, vacation and ultimately night outings. As the latter generally has a social connotation, it can also mean something else for more and more people. Summer is also the host of a wide variety of celestial events that more than one can enjoy. Amateur photographers, professionals, backyard astronomers, star gazers, you, me, we all tend to linger outside longer to gaze at the sky’s impressive displays while it is not too cold. But what is so special about them at this particular time of the year? Probably the possibility of watching several phenomena occur at the same time!
In my latest project called ‘LUX CÆLI’ (from Latin, ‘sky light’), I wanted to focus on these events and show their mesmerizing nature in a time-lapse series. It is merely a celebration of the summer time night sky phenomena in high resolution, and my goal was to show them in a bit different way. Whether you are talking about a sunset, northern light, meteor showers or eclipse, these displays are all breath-taking by essence. However the pinnacle of celestial awesomeness is to witness several of these natural phenomena happen at once.
For example, northern lights are a very well-documented subject, but seeing them wiggle on top of another elusive astronomical feature like noctilucent clouds is something one cannot soon forget, and has rarely been recorded in the past, especially on film. This scene at 3’:04’’ was taken in High Level Alberta as I conducted airborne research on noctilucent clouds with the Project PoSSUM. Noctilucent clouds are ice-particle clouds at the edge of space (83km of altitude) that glow in the summer twilight, and they would not be visible if multiple intricate conditions were not met. Nonetheless, when you start seeing a green and purple beam of light almost outshining this electric-blue veil at 100km of altitude, you are reminded of how big our atmosphere and ultimately universe is.
I suggest you spend some time watching the video more closely: you might see more and more events adding to the one you are already gazing at. How about these geostationary satellites aligning under the Perseid meteor shower with the close-up view of Scutum constellation and milky way in the background? Or maybe the big dipper photobombed by the aurora borealis in the smoke of this summer’s devastating Canadian wildfires? ‘Are those stars?’ you might ask. ‘Not necessarily’ I might answer. A good example is to watch saturn or the Andromeda galaxy follow the course of the milky way across the night sky. It gives another perspective to it, and you will never look at the sky in the same way. These events overlap more often that one might think, you just need to linger and watch! The film also features this summer’s partial lunar eclipse rising over the Alps, sunsets over an ocean of clouds and more!
I assembled the best time-lapse sequences of this summer’s sky light events taken in different countries through my work and vacation in Canada, France and Denmark. With that, I also wanted to show that virtually anyone can go outside and witness the same things, and it’s a free spectacle for you right around the corner…
The film has been shot with the Sony a7rII, a7s and Canon 6D, along with a variety of lenses ranging from 14mm to 500mm.
More about the story on my blog and website: adphotography-online.com
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