After the great response to SUNCHASER STAR TRAILS, my brave team and I trekked to the world-famous Eureka Dunes in Death Valley National Park to search for some of the darkest skies on Earth. Despite temps below freezing, we went on December 13th, 2012 – the night of the Geminid Meteor Shower Peak, and a time of great planetary alignment. Armed only with boxed wine, firewood, and our DSLRs, we had to conquer epic climbs, sand roads with the 4×4 Jeep, and the occasional UFO!
But it was all worth it when the skies cleared and showed us an incredible galactic palette! Star Trails shot at 25 sec exposures. No special effects used, just the rotation of the earth’s axis. The images were shot with Canon 5D & 7D’s, a 24mm/1.4 lens and a 28mm/1.8. For merging the photography I used STARSTAX.
The Geminids get crazy as the sun comes up (2:20-2:35) but you can spot a bunch more throughout, if you look closely — or here’s a nice shot. There’s also some passing planets (1:15-1:30 and 2:15-2:25). I think these are Jupiter and Mars(?), but maybe some smart astronomer out there can verify?
The “UFO” appears at (1:30-1:35) and makes three broad circular sweeps over the desert. Though in timelapse it appears to be moving fast, consider the 5 seconds = about 50 minutes, so it’s creeping. There was no sound, so it definitely wasn’t a helicopter. Here is a closer picture.
Shot and Edited by: Gavin Heffernan twitter.com/GavinHeffernan
Producers: Michael Darrow, Rachel Payne, Ben Dally
Music: “Stay Down (Ambient)” by MOBY (License Courtesy MobyGratis.Com – very cool!)
Thanks: Adam Jeremy Williams, Briana Nadeau