The Spring Mountains Time Lapse video was filmed during the 2023 summer monsoon season and the high desert storm cloud action certainly is interesting to view. There are a few night sky clips in this video and there was a lot of unique celestial activity to take in during the summer season as well.
This is the first of six volumes in the desert monsoon season time lapse series and the cloud action becomes more intense as the series progresses. I started filming in early July when the tropical storms started heading north from the Gulf Of Mexico and Baja. The monsoon time lapse session continued through late August when clear skies finally reappeared.
Many of the monsoon season storms pictured in the Spring Mountains series contributed to the catastrophic flash flood events that caused major damage locally in Pahrump, Death Valley and Las Vegas on the other side of this mountain range. In fact, the damage was so heavy in Death Valley that this national park was completely closed for an extended time and there still are access restrictions in place.
Flash floods in the desert are not something to take lightly, so it is best to heed any local or national weather service warnings and stay safe. An unseen storm can dump tons of water several miles away to create a raging river that rapidly runs downhill. In a matter of minutes, a trickle of water in a mountain dry wash can turn into deadly white water rapids. For this reason, if you are camping or you happen to be on a time lapse mission, it is best to carefully select a spot on the high ground just in case flash flood conditions arise.
The night sky scenes in the Spring Mountains video series were filmed before moonrise or during new moon nights. I needed practice with dark sky landscapes, since I was getting used to new camera that was more capable after dark. The ambient light from the city glow of Pahrump is enough to dimly light the landscape in most dark sky scenes, which is a real plus. The city glow coming from Las Vegas on the other side of the mountains also contributes ambient light and these two illumination sources make the clouds look dreamy at night.
The night sky scenes in the Spring Mountains monsoon series also feature summertime celestial events. The Leonid Meteor Shower was strong this year and many thin meteor streaks can be seen in the dark sky scenes. There are lots of jet trails because of Las Vegas being nearby and I even captured the blue streak of the huge space station on different dates. The galactic center was another primary target last summer and I got plenty of practice filming the Milky Way moving through the sky over the Pahrump city lights.
The Joshua Trees in the high elevation definitely enhance the desert mountain views. Mt Charleston can be seen in the distance in some scenes and it is interesting to see the effect of this 11,900 foot tall peak on tropical storm clouds. I mostly filmed in the mile high elevations, since going further uphill would mean risking heavy rain during filming sessions, which could make it difficult or impossible to get back downhill if a flash flood occurred. The mile high level was the edge of the safety zone and this area was also a good vantage point for extensive time lapse sessions.
The Spring Mountains series is also when I took more control of the camera when filming time lapse. Previously during the Covid camping tour, the majority of the time lapse videos were shot in auto mode at HD 1080p 60 and processed inside the camera because of many limitations. The 2023 videos are mostly shot in 4K and the higher resolution certainly makes the night sky scenes look much better. Switching from 60 to 25 frames per second created a cinematic effect. The action moves fluidly and the finished video elapse time increased. There are several 1080p 60 fps videos in this collection too, since my backup camera only shoots full frame in high definition. These scenes do move a little faster, however I did settle for the cropped 4K 25 fps option with the backup camera many times.
All of the daylight time lapse videos were processed inside my two cameras. Many of my night sky time lapse videos were processed inside the camera and touched up with Final Cut Pro video software. Only a few were RAW images post processed with photo software, video software and/or star trails software. The reason why is I spent time tuning the picture control settings and I made a custom setting for night sessions. Unloading a big wad of cash on a camera just to spend endless hours post processing images is old school thinking and the extra effort is not really necessary for daytime clouds time lapse videos. The new mirrorless cameras certainly are more than capable of producing high quality finished time lapse videos straight out off the camera if you customize the picture control to your needs and take control of the exposure triangle.
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