Timelapse Astrophotography Techniques

One of the fastest growing trends in digital photography is the art of timelapse films. So visually stunning are these short films that it seems that every day there is a plethora of new ones doing the rounds on the Internet. Perhaps one of the most striking areas within this genre is in the field of astrophotography. In this highly interesting film, Director of Photography Tom Guilmette spends a few days in the deserts of California with a small team of timelapse filmmakers capturing the heavens:

Coined Timefest by the team involved, the project involved 12 photographers and filmmakers with a plethora of equipment, bags of enthusiasm, and a perfect location. Amongst the equipment they brought with them was a number of prototype Kessler motion control rigs. Also in the group was renowned timelapse photographer Tom Lowe who was working on his film of the skies of the Southwestern US called Timescapes.

Based in a rented house close to their locations, the team spent several nights in the surrounding desert in some fantastic locations. During the day they would sleep to around midday, then spend several hours preparing equipment. Timing their journeys carefully, the photographers would set out before sunset to their location for the night. On arrival, the well-oiled team would set up no fewer than 18 timelapse Canon EOS 5D Mark II’s capturing different elements of the night sky and surrounding landscape. Many of the cameras were set on motion control rigs to gently pan across or dolly into a scene. One of the revolutionary new rigs from Kessler allowed a Canon 5D to be moved forward into a scene whilst changing the focus, creating a timelapse pull focus.

astrophotography time lapse

Astrophotography Time-lapse

During the shoots, some of which lasted in excess of six hours, extreme caution needed to be exercised not to introduce any extraneous light into the scene, such as a torch or computer screen light.

The film shows a few days in the lives of a dedicated and highly talented group of photographers, passionately creating some memorable timelapse imagery.

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3 Comments

  1. Jay in Wisconsin says:

    With a title like “Time-Lapse Astrophotography Techniques” I was expecting an article about how to do this amazing work. Instead, I am treated to a video clip that will not play, and a list of several types of equipment, some of it home built. No detail about how to take these photos, nothing about how to assemble the still images into a video, no real information at all. I believe my Labrador Retriever could write an equally impressive article.

  2. Mark says:

    Simply brilliant insight into this am looking to do static shots and work up to this in my local area so thank you very much for the inspiration. and can i get a kessler for free please fer bein nice lol. but very very nice vid will be showing this to many peeps

  3. Ariel says:

    Awesome video! It’s great to see some awesome people at work doing what they love, especially the BTS footage of what all’s involved. Thanks so much for doing this. :)

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