Note: This video looks best in HD—please click on the "HD" icon on the video. For a higher-quality version, see this video on Vimeo: vimeo.com/39090895
Timelapse video compilation of the aurora borealis (northern lights) taken in Fairbanks, Alaska, during the evenings of March 21-22, 2012.
1,705 still frames were captured using a tripod-mounted Canon 5D Mark II and two lenses: EF 16-35mm/2.8L USM and EF 14mm/2.8L II USM. On March 21, the aurora was faint: we were only able to see it by naked eye for half an hour or less during the evening. On March 22, the aurora was searingly bright, and lasted for over 2.5 hours, spanning most of the night sky (leaving only a dark hole to the south).
We shot for hours each night in temperatures ranging from -5ºF to -20ºF. The 5D2 was a champ, and I was able to shoot around 600 pictures on a single battery charge, even in those temperatures! The Canon TC-80N timelapse remote also worked well, although the settings LCDs on both devices became very slow in the cold, sometimes taking a full second to refresh when I changed settings.
The still images were processed and exported in Lightroom 4. Individual clips were assembled in Quicktime 7 and then brought into Final Cut Pro X for editing into a sequence.
Special thanks to Julian and Ildi Cohen (juliancohen.com), my photography companions during the trip, to Casey Thompson, a local aurora photographer (caseythompsonphotography.com/), for his tips on shooting locations, and to mobygratis.com for music.