Cerro Paranal is an astronomers paradise with its stunningly dark, steady and transparent sky. Located in the barren Atacama Desert of Chile it is home to some of the world's leading telescopes.
Operated by the European Southern Observatory (eso.org) the Very Large Telescope (VLT) is located on the Paranal mountain, composed of four 8 m telescopes which can combine their light to make a giant telescope by interferometry.
Four smaller auxiliary telescopes, each 1.8 m in aperture, are important elements of the VLT interferometer.
Walking on the desert near Paranal between the scattered stones and boulders on the pale red dust, feels like being on Mars but under the Earth sky.
Paranal was selected for cutting edge astronomical observations also because of the sky transparency and steady atmospheric condition which let astronomers peer into tiny details in the deep cosmos using giant telescopes.
This film is made with footage from the November 2011 TWAN imaging expedition to Paranal assigned by the European Southern Observatory (ESO). We photographed 14 nights in a row from usually 05:30 pm to 08:00 a.m.
The music is by Carbon Based Lifeforms (carbonbasedlifeforms.net). Song Arecibo extract from the album [Twentythree], write & produced by Johannes Hedberg and Daniel Segerstad, published by Ultimae (ultimae.com).
Equipment used by Christoph on assignment:
- 2 Nikon D3s
- 1 Nikon D700
- 1 Nikon D7000
- 2 AFS 12-24/2.8, 1 AFS 24-70/2.8, 1 AF 16/2.8 Fisheye, 1 AF DX 10/2.8 Fisheye
- Dynamic Perception Stage Zero Dolly with MX2
- Astrotrac AT320 X-AG and Merlin with MX2
Transitions done with Apple Aperture (see vimeo.com/35998334). Edited and rendered with Final Cut Pro 10, Motion and Compressor. Some re-edits recently done with LR4 and LRT for testing, fun!. About 35000 TimeLapse images processed, 7500 used for this part of "Astronomers Paradise".
I hope we could at least capture the magic of this very special place a bit - this is how the night sky looks like, if people care about light pollution. And we need more people to do that.
This was the first hour of one of what ended up being one of the best sessions of my life. I was on a trip deep in the wilderness of Chile with my old girlfriend who was studying in Valparaiso. We stayed for six days and the waves got better each day until the swell peaked on the fourth day with light offshore conditions. I surfed my brains out until dark and went back to our cabin and charged my go pro. I had one of their stretchy head mounts which I wrapped around my neck nearly choking myself out to ensure I didn't loose the camera. We woke before the sunrise and drove down the sand track to point with our friend Ricardo. It was still pumping with well overhead sets coming in consistently with no one out. We paddled out and got empty waves for 30 mins before a local joined us. This footage was my first handful of waves until the camera fogged up and I dropped it on the beach. The next 4 hours the tide dropped and the waves got incredible with only 10 people on the point sharing and hooting. After the session one of the locals told me we got the best day of the year.