“The Untouched – A Time-lapse Film” is a self project I have been working on, for the past 2 years across different National and State parks in the country. The primary vision of the video is to showcase the untouched beauty of few of our National/State Parks across USA and to create awareness about conserving natural resources of our planet including the ever reducing dark skies.
The time-lapse journey started with my travel to Crater Lake in Oregon when I first captured the beauty of night sky over the amazing landscape of the volcanic lake. As I kept learning the art, I started traveling to locations to capture specific scenes based on calculating weather conditions and astronomical alignments to the landscape. I wished to capture unique alignments, cloud movements and reflections for which there was constant planning that went on my mind keeping track of wind conditions, cloud cover, storm movement, seasonal alignment changes of astronomical elements such as Sun, Moon, Milky Way galaxy etc.
The journey progressed and I started to feel and see the effect of climate change while trying to capture these beautiful places. Places in the west coast like Mono Lake, Yosemite, Crater Lake, Mt. Hood, Mt. Rainier were facing significant to severe drought conditions and was able to feel the change of water level in their water bodies such as rivers, water falls, and lakes as I tried to get back to same locations to capture different seasons and light conditions over the past 2 years. The weather pattern changes were evident as well with the reduction of moisture and coastal fog cycle in the Pacific which were quite important for an ecological balance for coastal vegetation like redwoods that exists.
The winter precipitation became a dream with very little snow fall over the sierras and volcanic peaks of Pacific Northwest. The winter Alaskan adventure turned out to be a trip with moderate winter temperatures and unusual weather patterns thru the state. The summer became hotter with rise in temperatures close to unimaginable levels in most part of the country I was traveling in. Mountain glaciers were starting become a thing of the past with many of the glaciers melting fast with the high heat and not much of winter precipitation to maintain the level. The tidal patterns scared as the high tides got the water more closer to the shore and even caused coastal flooding during storms. The unusual severe weather outbreaks were pretty frequent due to the climatic changes happening through out the country, though it provided some amazing light for me to capture it clearly highlighted the climate change we are going through. Hence, I clearly found a much stronger objective to achieve for my film that I embarked in the beginning to satisfy my passion for photography. I got even more motivated to travel across different parts of the country to showcase the beauty of the nature which we are blessed with and create awareness to conserve them for the best of our future.
The other major issue I faced was to capture the landscape in the night. I had to travel long distances to see the stars shine bright. The light pollution seemed to be so bad even in places which were not big metropolitan cities.
The light pollution may not look as a big problem from the outside but it has been proved that the excessive light thrown out creates health issues to human beings. Scientific evidence suggests that artificial light at night has negative and deadly effects on many creatures including amphibians, birds, mammals, insects and plants which depend on natural day light and star light for their activities. Also, excessive usage of light in the night just increases the usage of energy there by increases the demand/shortage for power. And as per International Dark Sky Association (IDA) : “We do need some light at night, but much of it is wasted by lights that are overly bright or left on when not needed. Unshielded fixtures waste the most energy. Their lights shine upward instead of down on the ground where it’s needed. In fact, IDA estimates that that up to 50 percent of all outdoor light is wasted. That adds up to $3.3 billion and the release of 21 million tons of CO2 per year! To offset all that CO2, we’d have to plan 875 million trees annually”. Hence I ventured out to capture the beauty of the night sky to spread the word to the masses to show what the city dwellers like myself have been missing.
As per my vision of the video, I simply wanted to show case the beauty of nature and convey that we can’t reverse time in real to travel back in time to bring back all that we destroyed by mistake. We need to conserve and combat the changes for the best of our future. Hope you will like my short presentation of the time-lapse sequences that I captured over a period of time. Happy Earth Day, Happy Global Astronomy Month and a belated Happy International Dark Sky Week.