“Fireflies trapped in that big blueish black thing” (Timonian Proverb)

I’ll give some background on what I was trying to accomplish. Has anyone been watching “North America” on BBC? It documents many of the extreme climates, wildlife and places of North America. The footage that they’ve achieved is jaw dropping, and they start the episodes with a montage of sequences that includes a sunset and stars whirling over the mountain range. It is pulled off incredibly, and is something that I wanted to achieve. Challenge accepted. So, last night I set up my camera for a first attempt at this capture and photographed between 9:00 and 2:30 AM (5.5 hours of photography) in hopes of achieving a sunset and celestial movement. I cannot help but be reminded of Timon when I look at the stars. “Fireflies trapped in that big blueish black thing”. Hence the title of this entry. Although I enjoy thinking about the complexities of space, the simplicity of the description certainly serves it well!

It’s been hot here, really hot. And, rumor has it that’s how it is across the U.S. Anyone that wants to weigh in on the misery they are experiencing is more than welcome. I’m more than willing to lend an ear.  I, for one, am experiencing lack of motivation, fatigue and general crabbiness due to these clingy conditions. It’s driven me to take cover in the daytime much like a lion on the savanna. However, my small rant on the heat is just preaching to the choir, and actually has little do with my reason for this blog entry, other than to compare the intensely hot conditions of the day to those of the night in my upcoming entry.

Now, back to the meat of the thing.

  • 9:00 PM. When I stepped outside with my camera an impressive sunset was forming over Perham, MN. I was stationed south of town by about 7 miles and as I faced the sun a slight wind quartered between my left cheek and shoulder. The temperature was a mild 78 degrees, relief from the heat!  The camera went on and the tripod and were off and running. Sunset : captured.
  • 10:00 PM dew on the ground. It was cooling off fast. But my camera had died. Crap! A quick battery change and I was back online, but a small jump in the final video is how I payed for my mistake.  The stars were out and a bright, half moon was slowly settling towards the horizon.
  • 11:3o PM. One last battery change before heading to bed. And by 11:35 I was sleeping like a baby. The moon had dropped lower, and if you held your hand out in front of you it was three palm widths above the horizon.

The next morning I was very excited to collect my camera and process the results. I definitely found the gap created by the dead battery, and figure I lost about 10 minutes of shooting. However, the mixed colors of the stratus clouds were stunning as they moved overhead. The tree that I chose in the foreground was a great stabilizer to watch the movement of the stars. There are certainly things I will do differently next time I attempt this technique, however, I’m very happy with the first start! So,without further ado, the timelapse of the sunset transitioning into the nightly movement of the stars can be found below. I was fortunate enough to capture the moon setting in the lower left corner of the screen as it dropped below the horizon at about 2AM . It’s amazing how much the stars popped out once that light was gone! Credit to the Moody Blues for setting the tone!


If you have time: please comment on the ‘quality’ of the video. I don’t mean aesthetically, rather, how was the streaming experience for this video? I’m trying to determine if the process of hosting through my  Google account is decreasing the quality of the video.  I guess as a specific example, are the stars flickering in and out? They shouldn’t be doing that (should be a constant movement across the sky with no flickering), but I’m unsure if that’s a low video quality as result of my connection here or not. If hear for you all that the video quality is low I will update the blog to help fix that. Let me know!

4 thoughts on ““Fireflies trapped in that big blueish black thing” (Timonian Proverb)”

  1. Hi Ian,
    I am not a video expert, so I cannot really properly evaluate the video. The overall effect was amazing; capturing the landscape & heavenly bodies. The music was perfect for the video. Other than that, I am at a loss!
    Peggy Blood, soprano choir buddy

  2. Ian! I just watched the time lapse with my manimals (Taylor and Thomas) and they loved it – watched it 3x! They love when I read your blogs out loud. No commentary on the quality of the video, just know you have fans in ME who are requesting more video. XXOO, Kate

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