Milky Way meets lightning storm in Dedon Island Resort timelapse.
A timelapse movie shot at Dedon Island Resort (now Nay Palad) at Siargao, Philippines. During my stay at Siargao I was shooting lots of Milky Way timelapses and eventually came up with a plan to do this at one of the country’s (and earth’s!) most beautiful locations: Dedon Island Resort. I managed to get in touch with the managers and they loved it.
The initial idea was to capture the Milky Way with the furniture in the foreground, but I wanted to show the progression into the night and back into the light, including some sunsets and sunrises. We planned 3 days for it, timing it perfectly with a new moon. Then rain came. All 3 nights were terrorized by fierce lightning storms. The first night turned out ‘disaster’, raining all night, as did the third. But the second night a miracle happened. The storm stayed at the same location and we even had a gorgeous view on the Milky Way.
About capturing a lightning storm with the Milky Way
Capturing both at the same time is almost impossible due to various reasons. To have a lightning storm during those few dark nights the Milky Way is visible is rare. To be in de right position to frame both requires incredible luck. No storm without clouds, so have to a view on the Milky Way above the storm takes even more luck. To make things even more special, I even managed to capture a bunch of red sprites! Those are electrical discharges that occur above the clouds, something that’s only been captured since the last few years, thanks to light sensitive sensors.
Capturing the Milky Way with a lightning storm as a multi hour timelapse has only been done a few times before. Getting both in combination with red sprites and shooting it for 5 hours with 4 cameras at one of the greatest resorts on the planet with some of the best outdoor furniture designs that exist, you could say I got lucky, or I was at the right place at the right time 🙂 Still can’t believe I had 4 cameras rolling, I borrowed 2 for the 3 days, so I’ve never had 4 cameras. Usually at moments like these, your battery is empty or you don’t have your tripod with you. I just happened to as prepared as I’ve ever been. Funny how at first I was so disappointed to see another storm coming our way, probably ruining everything like the night before. So glad I set up anyway.
Technical challenge of that shot
Getting this type of footage was the ultimate photography mission I could think of. I thought I’d be spending my whole life persuing it, not even knowing if it was technically possible. For example, I usually shoot lightning at around ISO100 with short exposures of a few seconds. I shoot the Milky Way with ISO3200 and 30 second exposures. That doesn’t go together very well! I choose a middleground for all camera’s of roughly ISO1600 at 20 sec, hoping to minimize overexposure without sacrificing too much of the Milky Way.
‘Awakening’ by Simon Wilkinson, www.thebluemask.com
Shot with two Nikon D800’s (14-24/f.2.8 & 16-35/f4), a Nikon D7100 (17-70/f2.8-4) and Sony RX100iv. Edited with Photoshop, Lightroom, LRTimelapse and After Effects. Photopills app used for planning, QDSLRDashboard app for shooting timelapses.
Read more about the gear I use for these movies at the Gear section!
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