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This video is a time-lapse compilation cut down to more than 10,000 photo frames equaling 33 scenes of various night sky events from Northern Michigan in 2012. It took a year to shoot in many cold nights, and it took a lot of coffee, a bit tenacity and persistence to get this into a form of coherent electrified cosmic goodness.
Night sky-capes include multiple northern lights scenes, meteor showers, nebulae, planets -- including Venus and Jupiter setting in spring 2012 -- constellations, the Milky Way, comet Pan-Starrs, nightscapes over both Lake Superior and Lake Michigan.
I thought I might mention some of the more interesting wildlife encounters during the photo gathering:
1. Sparring moose on Isle Royale under a pitch-black sky after wrapping the Isle Royale Tobin Harbor airglow / northern lights opening scene at 3 a.m., with their thunderous antlers clashing with fear-inducing power that could be felt in the gnashing sound waves echoing in the hills. (And I had to hike a two-mile "deer path" back to my shelter in the direction of those moose. I survived to tell the tale without getting pancaked.)
2. The howl of wolves in the eastern UP piercing the freezing air under a calm full-moon sky.
3. A particularly persistent beaver on an inland lake in the Hiawatha National Forest, determined to be in just about every frame with a methodically spaced tail-slap on an otherwise beautifully FLAT CALM star-reflected lake. So, even though the star reflection sequence is blown by this beaver with a 'tude, the scene is included anyway as a humorous memory.
4. The blue heron fishing for a midnight snack by auroral light at the mouth of Sand River and Lake Superior. If only I would have not moved, this heron would have walked the river bank through the entire frame.
Rare pairings caught on camera include: ribbons of aurora above a full moon fogbow on the horizon of Lake Superior, the aurora and an isolated singular lightning storm cloud over Lake Superior, and the aurora and Milky Way in several scenes, including Copper Harbor, Marquette, Isle Royale, Pictured Rocks, and Eagle Harbor Lighthouse.
I feel extremely fortunate to have witnessed and photographed the several strong auroral outbursts shown here from 2012 at a relatively southern 46.5 degrees latitude in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. I'm also so grateful for the advances in high ISO DSLR technology to allow for time-lapse capture to be able to create these sequences for such high-quality video reproduction of the night sky.
All scenes are within 200 miles or so of my home in Marquette, Mich., and I feel very blessed to live where I do and to share the beauty that I see "in my own backyard" with you. I hope it inspires others to take time to find the beauty that is everywhere around us and also to raise an awareness about the importance of preserving our night wondrous starlit skies.
A special thanks to David Helpling and Jon Jenkins, who granted permission to use their spectacular track, "Lifted," from the album "The Crossing." Thanks again David and Jon: so glad to know of this track; I couldn't have thought of a more fitting and inspiring piece of music as a contributing impetus to the completion of this project. You can find more of David Helpling and Jon Jenkins' music at spottedpeccary.com.
Video locations include Isle Royale National Park, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Headlands Intl Dark Sky Park, North Country Trail, Hiawatha National Forest, Marquette Michigan, Copper Harbor and Eagle Harbor, Mich.
Video © Shawn Malone, lakesuperiorphoto.com. All rights reserved.
- Lake Superior
- Isle Royale