This stunning short film is a made of timelapse star trails with light painted landscapes
The lockdowns around the world have us all thinking a little outside the box right now when it comes to our photography and filmmaking. We’re not able to get out to shoot our usual subjects, so we start to experiment and try new things.
For photographer and filmmaker Arthur Cauty, that meant looking back on some of his old work to see if he could make something new out of it. And that’s exactly what he did. His short film Night Light is a mixture of timelapse sequences of star trails mixed with long exposure night sky and light painted landscape photographs he’s made. And the final result is quite beautiful.
Arthur tells DIYP that he looked back over his astrophotography and nightscape work over the past couple of years to put the film together. He said he made it as a reminder of what exists outside his four walls and for others to enjoy the wonders he’s seen of the night sky.
The images were shot in several locations around the USA and UK including Arches and Capitol Reef national parks in Utah, Joshua Tree National Park in California as well as the Brecon Beacons National Park and Dunraven Bay in Wales and Dartmoor National Park in England.
The list of gear Arthur used to shoot the images and timelapse sequences was just as varied, and includes not only three different cameras but three different brands of camera including the Sony A7S, Canon 6D and Panasonic S1H. For the lenses, Arthur used the Sigma 24mm f/1.4 Art, Sigma 50mm f/1.4 Art, Samyang 24mm f/1.4 and Samyang 14mm f/2.8.
The only timelapses in the film are the star trails. Everything else is single images – either long exposures of the stars or light paintings of the ground. To light the landscape, Arthur used a bunch of cheap dimmable LEDs from Amazon, his old iPhone 5 and occasionally a passing car’s headlights.
I’m sure you’ll agree that the final result is quite unique, and if you didn’t know that it was largely composited, you’d be wondering just exactly how some of those camera moves were made and how the managed to stay so still in a couple of the shots while the sky whizzed by behind.
John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.