This is the third video in the 2023 Spring Mountains November Time Lapse series and hopefully it will not be the last during the change of seasons. This collection of time lapse clips were filmed November 16th through the 19th and this is when the best cloud action took place so far this month. Unfortunately clear skies are forecasted for the next week, but long term weather predictions rarely pan out in the desert southwest.
October 2023 was a mild weather month in the high desert with mostly blue skies and hot temperatures, so other Destination West projects were tended to. Cooler air finally arrived in November when a Pacific northwest cold front pushed through the region. The first strong winter weather system usually brings dramatic cloud formations that are mesmerizing to view, especially with time lapse video!
The first cold front moving through the high desert after a lengthy hot spell is more than just a sigh of relief. The few moments of rain help to green up the landscape and the fall season wildflowers put out their last blooms. Wild horses come out into the open to graze on the fresh green growth, which can add some wow factor when captured on film.
The first cold spell also plays havoc in places like the Spring Mountains, where the summit is over 11,900 feet tall. Warm air and warm ground temperatures mixing with icy cold air creates all sorts of updrafts and downdrafts that steer the clouds through the slopes. Atmospheric pressure also causes the clouds to crown the peaks and sometimes this occurs in the lower mile high elevations where I usually film. What this all adds up to is fast moving dramatic storm clouds in a mountainous region that look fantastic in a time lapse video!
Up to this point, all of the night sky scenes in the Spring Mountains series were filmed during a new moon or moonless nights. This is just how the timing fell into place, but it did create opportunities for capturing the Milky Way passing through a time lapse night sky scene. On the downside, moonless nights present endless challenges when programming the ISO range and minimum shutter speed for a time lapse video that is processed inside the camera. This is especially true when city lights or the desert dusty haze is involved. The foreground is nearly always guaranteed to be a silhouette on a moonless night, which is yet another item to contend with when using the time lapse video function.
Starting on the 16th of November there was a little bit of moonlight for a few hours after sunset. The soft light from a waxing crescent or quarter moon makes all the difference in the world when filming night sky time lapse video. The clouds are lit up, the highlights of the landscape can be seen and the true deep blue color of the atmosphere at night is revealed. The night-scape time lapse scenes in this video truly are remarkable when considering the entire video was processed inside both cameras and no post processing was involved. The age of not having to post process thousands of photos to make a quality oriented day to night time lapse video is finally becoming reality!
For this third November video, some of the fast moving cloud action was filmed with 1080p 60fps. Most of the rest of the daylight scenes and the night sky segments were filmed with 4K 30fps. When assembled with video software the frame rate is converted to the best option, so this video was published in HD format. The mirrorless cameras have a much higher resolution, so the naked eye will likely not be able to tell much difference. A new music soundtrack was also embedded to enhance the viewing experience!
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