Timelapse Photography of Light Pollution and the Night Sky

Filmmaker Sriram Murali is open about his passion for astronomy. Having traveled across the United States and shared his images with the likes of CNN, National Geographic, and TIME, the night sky remains his favorite subject. In his latest short film, he hopes to make a seldom discussed statement concerning the conservation of our starscapes:

Lost in Light primarily focuses on the skies in and around California. Despite the self imposed restrictions in location, the differences between the timelapses Murali shares are obvious to the naked eye. Using the Bortle Scale as a guide, he orders the shots by their level of light pollution. As the video progresses, the camera travels further away from civilization, toward dark, deep skies.

Level 8 Light Pollution

San Jose, CA (Light Pollution Level 8)

Level 5 Light Pollution

Monte Bello Open Space Preserve, CA (Light Pollution Level 5)

Level 2 Light Pollution

Lassen National Park, CA (Light Pollution Level 2)

In the beginning, the night sky appears to be bare and uninteresting. However, details emerge as the light pollution scale steadily drops. Before long, hundreds and thousands of stars adorn fantastic colors far from the distraction of buildings and streetlights.

A hopeful collage of the beauty that surrounds us—whether or not we’re able to see it—this engaging film brings to life the vast universe we often take for granted. In conjunction with the project, Murali offers the following reflection regarding his motivation as an artist:

“The night skies remind us of our place in the Universe. Imagine if we lived under skies full of stars. The reminder that we are a tiny part of the cosmos, the awe and a special connection with this remarkable world would make us much better beings – more thoughtful, inquisitive, empathetic, kind and caring.”

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