This is the tale of three intrepid young men and their dream of making a time lapse video of the stars for you to enjoy. It turned out to be more along the lines of a truly epic adventure.
The adventure started one day when I found an incredible video of a star time lapse across Ayers Rock in Australia. It was stunning and I will include the link below but only after you’ve seen my video. The gentleman who stayed up all night taking thousands of photographs of the sky turned out to have the same camera as I do.
Not long after that, Luke, Leon and I took off on a road trip to find somewhere sufficiently far enough away from the city lights to enable some nice star photos. Not far south of Stanthorpe and a few kilometres north of the New South Wales border is a large granite outcrop called the Pyramids. It was decided that this was far enough from the city and seriously, how cool would it be to have a video of the stars from the top of those!?!?!
The boys left it to me to organise accommodation. ‘Easy’ I thought. One night we would be staying on top of a hill in the middle of nowhere taking photos in the freezing cold. So the other night we would stay in a motel. We left after the boys had finished work and drove off into the sunset only to arrive at the motel at eleven pm and find that I had in fact booked a room with one double bed in it. This brought gales of hysterical and badly muted laughter from the peanut gallery. It was all (rightly so) directed at me. This is my solemn warning to you: if you ever book a motel online, read carefully what it is exactly that you are buying.
Fortunately the bed was an ensemble. We pulled it apart, the two galoots (who were still laughing) got those and I sacrificed myself and my pride but sleeping on the floor. Dawn came all too soon and we packed up and left rather quickly despite being held up by a charming old man who wanted to have a long talk about the virtues of Ford Falcons until he realised I drove a Toyota.
We headed out to the Pyramids on a scouting mission. The plan was to assault the supermarket later on for supplies when we had a better idea where we would be setting up. We hit the ascent and triumphed in a little over forty-five minutes and realised that we had to do it again. Today. With loads of gear.
After finding an absolutely fantastic location – out of the wind but with a good view of the sky (pointing south) we descended rapidly and went back to Stanthorpe town for some lunch, food and a break.
The next four hours consisted of three adult males driving around in a blaze of indecision, taking that indecision into several stores and replacing it with cash before returning to the base of the pyramids, cooking ourselves a large barbeque with salads and realising that we didn’t have enough room in all our backpacks to carry everything we needed to the top of the hill. Part of the problem was a large car battery charger I had bought to charge camera batteries whilst being many kilometres from an outlet. It worked, but it was heavy and hard to move. By the time we got out of the trees and onto the actual rock face it was really heavy and really hard to move. Shortly after that we were almost to the top and by this time the whole expedition was starting to sound like a really horrid idea.
I set up quickly, still exhausted from the climb, and started taking pictures. This part was really difficult as the light changes so quickly that I had to keep adapting the length and aperture of the shots. This is why there is a little bit of flickering at the start.
Insert twelve hours of gruelling, attention sucking, backside numbing, battery charging, laptop draining, conversation killing, arduous work. Once it got dark the photos were easier because I could set up the camera to do this automatically. It drained eight batteries (normally good for about 1400 photographs) in ten hours. We killed a laptop battery, an iPad battery and my tolerance battery. We spent the night listening to the sound of the camera clicking away and freaking out when we couldn’t hear it. We then grumbled at the clouds (you can see them in the video) and prayed that they would go away. Luke managed to get some nice star trail photos. Before the clouds at least.
With the morning sun came elation. We had survived. Leon and Luke are still my friends and they even made a small cameo in the bottom right of the screen right near the end.
The results of our pains are here for you to see. Just watch it full screen. Be gentle. It is a first attempt made worse by Vimeo’s horrible compression.
Vimeo wouldn’t embed properly. Watch the video here instead. (Full screen remember).